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Full text of "Personal narratives of events in the war of the rebellion, being papers read before the Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society"

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REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
OENEALOGY COLLECTtON 



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ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HISTORICAL SOCIETY 






PERSONAL NARRATIVES. 



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THIRD SERIES, 

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CONTENTS. 



No. 11. KECOLLECTIOXS OF SERVICE IN THE TWELFTH REGI- 
MENT RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS. By Osc.vii Lapiiam. 

No. 12. THE MARCH TO THE SEA. Bv Chakles A. HorKiNS. 

No. 13. REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE WITH COLORED TROOPS IN 
THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND. 18G3-C5. By Thomas 
J. Moegan. 

No. 14. FRONTIER SERVICE DURING THE REBELLION; OR, A 
HISTORY OF COMPANY K, FIRST INFANTRY CALI- 
FORNIA VOLUNTEERS. By Geokgi] H. Pettis. 

No. lo. REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE WITH THE TWELFTH REGI- 
MENT RHODE ISLANJ) VOLUNTEERS, AND A MEMO- 
RIAL OF COL. GEORGE IL BROWNE. By Paudon E. 

TiLLINGlIAST. 

No. IG. BATTERY D, FIRST RHODE ISLAND LIGHT ARTILLERY, 
AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETxiM, SEPTEMBER 17, l.S.;2. 

By J. AlBEKT i\[ONKOE. 

No. 17. RELIEF OF WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, BY THE 
FIFTH RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS. By William W. 
Douglas. 

No. 18. A PRIVATE'S REMINISCENCES OF THE FIRST YEAR OF 
THE WAR. By E. Bex.jamix Andrews. 

No. 19. BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD, MARCH 17, 1SG3. By Jacob B. 

Cooke. 
No. 20. THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. By Ai.onzo Williams. 



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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IN THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BEING PAPEr.S HEAD BEFORE THE 

• RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 11. 



pkovidijnce: 

PUJITJSIIKI) UY TJIP: SOCIETV. 

1885. 






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EECOLLECTIOKS OF SEEYICE 



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TWELFTH REGIMENT, 



E. I. YOLUNTEEES. 



OSCxVPv LAPIIAM, 
[Late First Lieutenant Co. B, Twelfth Khode Island Volunteers.] 



ntOVlDENCE; 

ruiJi.isni:!) by the society. 

1885. 



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[Edition limited to two huiulred and fifty copies.] 



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EECOLLECTIOS-S 

OF 

SEllYICE IN THE TWELFTH EEGDIENT, 

'<^^ r' R. I. YOLUXTEEES. 

[Read before the Society, November 18, 1S84.] 



This regiment was recruited in the summer of 
1802 under tlie call of the President for volunteers 
for nine months. The disasters of the Peninsula, 
the defeat and scattering of Pope's army in Virginia, 
and the Union victory at Antletam, luid followed each 
other in rapid succession, and it was evident that the 
veterans of the Army of the Potomac would all be 
required in the great struggle with Lee, about to 
take place somewhere in Northern Virginia. 

It was, therefore, commonly supposed that the 
nine months' troops would be stationed in the de- 
fences about Washington, while the older troops, 



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6 REGOLLECTIONS OF SERVICE 

with a few rapid and masterly movements, proceeded 
to capture Lee and his army, which had thus far, 
with singular perversity, refused to surrender, either 
in the Chickahominy swamps, in the valleys of the 
Blue Eidge, or among the hills of i\Iaryland. 

Instead, however, of luxuriating in comfortable 
quarters in sight of the dome of the Capitol, and 
dinine: on beefsteak and fried e^^rs and troinof res^u- 

o fro ' o o c 

larly to sleep every night in comfortable beds, sur- 
rounded hy peaceable friends, our valiant regiment 
had, before Christmas of that 3'ear, crossed and re- 
crossed Long Bridge, picketed miles of rough coun- 
try in the neighborhood of Clouds ]Mills, marched in 
mud, rain and snow storms down through ^Maryland 
from AVashington to Port Tobacco, crossed the Poto- 
mac river in trans])orts in bitter cold from Liverpool 
Landing to Acquia Creek, marched thence to Fal- 
mouth on the Eappahannock, crossed that stream on 
pontoon bridges under an artillery fire, and partici- 
pated in one of the most furious, disastrous and 
bloody battles of the war ; it had covered the rear of 
the retreating army on a dark and rain}'^ night in 
December, and, while the Christmas hearths at home 



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IX THE TWELFTH KEGIMENT. 7 

glowed with gladness and warmth, had begun the 
struggle with winter in the open field with salt pork 
and hard tack for food, and shelter tents, or huts of 
earth walls and a cloth roof for houses. 

Taking leave of Virginia in tiie Last days of March 
in the following year, we entered upon entirel}^ dif- 
ferent scenes and duties, and engaged for the next 
four months in ceaseless activity upon a new and 
most interesting field. Transported l)y rail from 
Newport News, Virginia, to Cincinnati, and thence 
to Lexington, Kentucky, we began a march south- 
ward, at first through a beautiful, fertile country, 
and later, entering a broken, barren and mountain- 
ous region and over precipitous roads, pausing at 
last on the bank of the Cumberland river, near the 
line of Tennessee. 

The regiment Avas collected from various parts of 
the State and assembled on Dexter training' ground, 
in Providence, Avhere it was encamped several weeks 
to be organized and drilled. The weather was fine, 
and the camp was gay with visitors daily, the dress 
parade especially being extensively patronized. 
Here was the first taste of camp life and military 
discipline. , 



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8 llECOLLECTIOXS OF SEIIVICE 

Late in the afternoon of October 21, 1802, under 
command of Colonel Georo-e H. Browne, we em- 
barked on the train for New York, taking the cars at 
Olneyville. It was a scene of much excitement. I 
was ordered to take a detachment and establish a 
guard at tlie place of embarkation, to hold the crowd 
back from the cars and prevent their hlling the train. 
Friends and relatives of the boys begged for one 
more farewell ; mothers and sisters and wives were in 
tears. But the hour had struck, the die was cast ; 
the solid ranks moved steadily down tlirou^-li the 
throng within the impassable line, and a thousand 
more lives were committed to the chances of war. 
There was too much of novelty in our new situation, 
and too much antici})ation of what Avas before as, to 
give room for any prolonged regrets on oar part- 
There was just enough of mystery and uncertainty 
in what we were going to, to make us anxious for 
its development. Later on there were times when 
our curiosity was more than satisfied. When we 
encountered the genuine reality we foand occasions 
when our interest in the proceedings took a different 
turn, and we would willingly have left our share to 



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IN THE TWELFTH KEGDIENT. 



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other hands, if we could have done so with equal 
honor. 

The journey to AVashington was long and tedious, 
and we were not p^. ^^itted even the cheer and hos- 
pitality which greeted all troops passing through 
Philadelphia to the front. Our route took us by 
way of Ilarrisburg, with many long stops. Our 
boys even here did not forget their opportunities, as 
an occasional quack of a duck from the gloom of 
some car plainly attested. They took naturally to" 
the situation with an alacrity quite astonishing for 
new recruits with so short a military experience. 

We encamped for a night in Washington near the 
Capitol, and next day moved up Pennsylvania ave- 
nue and Fourteenth street, across Long Bridge, to 
Camp Chase, in the red dirt of Virginia, near Arling- 
ton Heights. Here exposure, cold rains, and lying 
on the ground in Sil)ley tents, began to tell on many 
constitutions, and the holk)w and feeble coughs of 
the poor fellows all over the grounds in the dead 
silence of the night, told plainly of the presence of 
that invirsible enemy that destroys more armies than 
shot and shell. 



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10 KECOLLECTIONS OF SERVICE 

We soon moved from here southward to Fairfax 
Seminary, and encamped on a line soiitiicrn slope 
overlooking the city of Alexandria. "We were now 
attached to the Ijrigade commanded hy Colonel D. Iv. 
AV right, of Xew Haven, Connecticut, in the first bri- 
gade of the division of General Casey. The ])ri- 
gade was composed, besides ourselves, of tJie Fif- 
teenth Connecticut, Colonel AVriglit's regiment, the 
Thirteenth Xew Hampshire, Colonel Stevens, and 
' the Twenty-seventh X'ew Jersey, Colonel ^Nlindil. 
This brigade was employed in picketing ])eyond 
Clouds Mills, one regiment being sent out at a time, 
and remaining on dut}' twenty-four hours. 
' At this camp, Colonel Browne l)egan to give atten- 
tion to sanitary regulations, which he vigorously 
enforced throughout our term of service, often over- 
seeing in person the details of the work. The men 
entrusted to his care were not to be permitted to 
sutler in liealth or etliciency from their own igno- 
rance or carelessness. This matter of cleanliness 
and good order in the company streets, tents, about 
the cook-house, and all around the various camps 
estal)lished from time to time, became somewhat 



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IN THE TWELFTH KEGIMENT. 



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later the subject of the most assiduous attention and 
rivaliy among the several companies, and one to 
which I may refer again. 

AVe had been at Fairfax Seminary but a few days 
when I received orders from Colonel Browne to 
report at brigade headquarters to Colonel AVright, 
commanding the brigade, for duty as aide on his per- 
sonal staff. I put on my best clothes and reported 
to what seemed to me a most tremendous and awe- 
inspiring presence ; but I had learned one principle 
of military duty and etiquette, and that was, when in 
the presence of superior officers to stand erect and 
say nothing, take my orders in silence, salute and 
retire. And this I rigidly adhered to. 

The brigade headquarters at Fairfax Seminary 
were in the house of Bishop Johns, of Virginia. The 
bishop had no use for the house at that time, and I 
suppose that was the reason Colonel ^^right was 
able to obtain it. We also had secured some very 
comfortable furniture and good beds, and a splendid 
library adorned the walls. The grounds were ele- 
gant, and all the appointments first class. I often 
thought while luxuriating in this beautiful place that 



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IIECOLLECTIOXS OF SEKVICE 



the bishop must have l)ecn uncouinioiily patriotic to 
do vote so much to make the soldiers comfortable, 
while it could uot be supposed that he, in absent- 
ing himself on our account, could ])e as well provided 
for. 

There was a capital set at headquarters. Lieuten- 
ant Penrose, of tlie regular army, vras chief of stall', — 
a wiry, restless fellow, cliafmg for a l)attle, thoroughly 
acquainted with every detail of the service, for lie 
was born in the army and knew nothing else. A. tire- 
less and fearless rider, he led me many a ride from 
' morninii' till ni<2:ht without leavina' the saddle, over 
bogs and corduroy roads, through swamps and brush 
■ and ibrest ; but I had tniined and rowed in the Uni- 
'■ versity boat crew, and was read}' for any scramble, 
' however rough. '<':■-''.' ^^^ '.-,-:•; ■>>v,::;'v;:>v>,-,,aii':j 

There was Dr. ILdcombe, of Connecticut, — tall 

'' and rugged, Iduti* and vigorous. One night, going 

through ^Maryland, the doctor and some more of us 

were looking about for a place to sleep. ^Ve got into 

''' a little cottage and occupied the parlor. By coni- 

,V nion consent we assigned the sofa for the doctor, 

while the rest stretched on the lloor This sofa hap- 






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IN^ THE TAVELFTII KEGIMENT. 



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pened to be very narrow, and rounded up resolutely 
in the middle, and it was covered with very slippery 
hair-cloth. The doctor got read}^ to be very com- 
fortable after a tedious day's march, and, wrapped in 
his blankets, stretched his long frame upon this little 
sofa. Presently came a grunt of displeasure, then 
he grew more restless, and as we were just settling 
down to sleep, the doctor bounded ofi' the sofa with 
an oath, declariug he would rather sleep lengthwise 
on a bologna sausage than stay on that sofa. 

There was the chaplain, who never turned his back 
on a good meal, and never came nearer profanity 
than to say "Condemn it;" the brigade quarter- 
master from Connecticut, a first-rate fellow ; a little 
chap named A^an Sann, from New Jersey, ^^•ho was 
a clerk, had a great fancy for negro delineation, and 
informed me he had belonged to more than one min- 
strel troupe. 

General Casey, commander of the division, occa- 
sionally came over from his headquarters in 'Wash- 
ington, with a large and brilliant statf, to inspect the 
picket line, in which we joined, coming back to Col- 
onel Wright's quarters to dinner. There was a 
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14 RECOLLECTIONS OF SEKYICE 

handsome spread on the bishop's mahogany dining- 
table on those days, served in courses, and much 
high converse, for our Colonel Wright was an able 
lawyer, our chaplain had written for the magazines, 
and several of General Casey's staff were West 
Pointers. 

This was transpiring in the beautiful November 
days, — the weather was fine, the rel)els at a safe 
distance, the scenery picturesque. There stretched 
the noble and historic Potomac ; the blufl's on the 
shores and eminences in all directions were covered 
with forts and flying the stars and stripes ; the city 
of Alexandria lay below us ; the pomp of war on 
ever}^ hand. It was all strarigely new. The very 
color of the mud seemed for the time a characteristic 
of aristocratic Virginia, a coal of arms as it were, for 
it was none of your common gray stuff, but that rich 
brick color which is the crowning glory of all our 
new houses, and its staying qualities were simply 
wonderful. The November haze hung over river 
and fort and forest, and there was plenty of mildly 
exciting service to keep the blood active and the 
appetite keen. 



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IN THE TWELFTH REGIMENT. 



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On the first clay of December I was returning from 
Washington, and met the brigade en route to join the 
Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg. Wo 
passed over Long Bridge and down along the river 
by the navy yard, across the East Branch, and 
stopped for the night just outside Uniontown. Con- 
tinuing down, the left bank of the Potomac, the next 
night found us near Piscataway, which we passed 
the next mornin";, haltinor the third ni^ht near 
another Uniontown, which consisted of cross-roads 
and one small shanty. 

Two days more brought us to our last bivouac 
before beginning to cross the river to Acquia Creek. 
It had snowed all the afternoon, covering the ground, 
and the men had to pass the night on that ground 
under their shelter tents, which they had carried on 
their backs. It seemed to me a most serious situa- 
tion, and in the evening, as soon as my duties would 
permit, I went in the greatest anxiety to investigate 
their wretched plight. To my surprise all hands 
were gay and jolly, and as comforta])le as need be. 
There was plenty of wood, and rousing fires burning 
all about ; the snow was brushed away, and the little 



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16 RECOLLECTIONS OF SERVICE 

tents set up around the fires ; hot coflee and rations 
from the haversacks were passing around, and alto- 
gether it was a bright and livel}'' scene, teeming with. 
real comfort. '' o 

The next morninii^ I was sent for^vard to find the 
landing. It was on a point of hind made b}' a sharp 
bend of the river to the left, and was exposed to 
bleak winds. The l^rigade was mo^sed down to this 
point and began to cross, as near as I can remem- 
ber, al:)Out noon. It was a slow process, owing to 
lack of transportation, and night was upon us with 
two regiments still to cro?s. Meanwliile the cold 
had increased, and it became absolutely necessary to 
provide fires. All the way down through Maryland 
the most scrupulous attention had been paid to the 
protection of private property, and witli the excep- 
tion of some individual pilfering, nothing had been 
taken. Now, on this cold plain, there were some 
large piles of dry fence rails, which, as the cold 
increased and the night approached, became the sul)- 
ject of earnest consideration among the shivering 
officers. The thing was argued jiro and con, the 
constitutional lawyers being still scrupulous, but 



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IN THE TWELFTH IlEGIMENT. 



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their compunctions decreasing in direct ratio to the 
increase of the cold. The result was in accordance 
Avith human nature under such circumstances — 
there Avere soon long lines of blazing fires upon the 
plain, and the boys were safe from further suifering. 
Night fell ; our regiment had gone over, but there 
were still two other reo-imcnts of the brio;\nde huddled 
around the fires, and it was uncertain whether the 
transport would return that night or not. Colonel 
Wright, who was still suffering from an injury he 
had received some weeks before, decided there was 
no need of his remainino- longer, asked some one of 
his staff to volunteer to stay to look out for the 
remaining regiments, whether they crossed that night 
or slept on the hither shore. I said I would accept 
that duty, and as the evening wore away and no 
transport appearing, I called the officers together for 
a council as to where they would pass the night. 
There was a side hill near by sheltered from the 
wind and covered with evergreens, but also covered 
with snow. The choice was between that location 
and the present, which had the advantage of the 
blazing fires. They decided to remain where they 



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THE MAKCII TO THE SEA. 



would be 3'oked up and made to do duty for Uncle 
Sam. I may say lierc tb:it we left Atlanta with 
five thousand cattle on the hoof, and reached 
Savannah with ten thousand, and it wasn't a very 
good country for cattle either. 

But to return to our muttons. After securing 
their transportation, these "professors- of foraging" 
would have loaded up the M'agons with these " lost 
sheep," and with anything else which the kind and 
generous planter seemed willing to contrilnite to the 
Union cause. Anions: these welcome contributions 
could be found chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, salt 
and fresh pork, hams, flour, meal, sweet potatoes, 
and sorghum or molasses. Loading these into the 
conversances so cheerfully furnisljed by the aforesaid 
kind and generous planter, and borrowing from him 
his grandfather's dress coat or any other antiquated 
and outlandish article of dress, the ''bummer," 
arrayed in the fashions of fifty years ago, would 
perch himself on top of his load and majestically^ 
drive into camp, saluted by the jests and jeers of 
the whole army, but yet w^elcomed by his comrades 
with warm hearts and hungr}^ stomachs. What, I 



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; THE MAECII TO TJllZ SEA. 19 

i ask, was the mere capture of a Hock of sheep com- 

1 pared with such perfection of skinning? To tell the 

truth, as I looked back upon my exploit, the more I 
f thought of it, the more sheepisii I felt. A spirit of 

\ rollicking fun seemed to h:ive taken possession of 

I the whole army. AVith rare exceptions, nothing 

\ was, I think, willfull}' destroyed, but anything that 

I would contribute to the general frolic was quickly 

seized upon. For this purpose odd and old-fash- 
I' ioned articles of dress were in great deniand ; but as 

a rule, private property, except such as the necessi- 
ties of the arni}^ demanded, was by most of the 
troops respected. There were, of course, some 
men of no principle in every cor[)s, or perhaps in 
every regiment, who would not have hesitated to 
j appropriate any articles of value that came within 

their reach, but such men were few, and they were 
restrained by the better sentiment that prevailed 
among the majority. >; _.. ^ ■:;... ■^..:,r: 

s f It must not be supposed that foraging was always 

I exempt from danger. In fact, it was seldom so. 

I "Sherman's bummer," strange as it may seem, was 

a fighting " bummer." In small parties they would 









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20 THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 

make their way, b}^ side roads, b}^ paths, or across the 
fields, far in advance, or on either flank of the main 
body. In fact, they soon became the actual skir- 
mish line of tlie army, hovering around it on every 
side like a cloud, hiding' it from the observation of 
the enem}^ and fighting man}^ a lively skirmish in 
its behalf, as well as providing most of its food. 
As the '^ bummers," after the first few days out from 
Atlanta, were always mounted, tJieir usual course of 
procedure Avhen raiding a plantation, was to picket 
the approaches in all directions, and if disturbed by 
the Home Guard or AVheeler's cavahy, they did not 
hesitate to show fiorht if strono^ enouirh. If not, 
thc}^ fell ])ack toward the main body, fighting as 
they went, until, as was usually the case, they met 
other parties of foragers, and then, if sufficiently 
reinforced, they turned and ])ecame the pursuers. 
In this way many a sharp skirmish was Ibuglit and 
won without the presence of a single commissioned 
officer. Sometimes, however, the "bummer" would 
be surprised and taken prisoner, or pa}' for his rash- 
ness with his life. My first lieutenant and half a 
dozen of my men were thus captured on the march 



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THE MAECII TO THE SEA. 21 

from Savannali north, and compelled to spend a few 
months in southern prisons ; and served them right, 
too, for thcj went just where I had cautioned tliom 
not to go, and where it ^vas moral]}' certain they 
would be "gobbled." Foraging is, of necessity, 
destructive and wasteful, and no doubt much hard- 
ship resulted to the inhabitants of Georgia from our 
visit, yet the damages done by our troops were Dot 
so great, according to the statements of their own 
newspapers, as those inflicted by Wheeler's cavalry. 
About a week after leaving Atlanta we entered 
Milledgeville without resistance. Here we found 
copies of southern papers of recent date, and, to 
judge from their contents, Sherman and his army 
w^ere certainly doomed to destruction. But with 
these confident predictions of our discomfiture, 
they also printed the most frantic appeals to the 
people, signed by Generals, Senators and others, to 
rise for the defense of their homes and property. 
Some of these pathetic calls for help are given in 
" Sherman's Memoirs," from whichi copy them: 

"Richmond, Nov. 18, 1S€4. 

*'To THE PEOPLE OF GeORC.IA: 

"You have now the best opi»(>rtunity ever yet presented to 



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22 THE MAKCII TO THE SEA. 

destroy tlie enemy. Put everytliing at the disposal of our Generals; 

remove all provisions from the path of the invader, and put all 

obstructions in his patli. Every citizen with his gun, and every 
i negro with his spade and axe, can do the work of a soldier. You 

can destroy the enemy by retarding his march. Georgians be firm. 
; Act promptly and fear not. 

j • *' B. 11. lluA., Senator." 

\ "I most cordially approve the above. - ^ 

\ "James A. Seddox, 

; "Secretary of M'ar." 



5 ■ ' ■ " Corinth, Miss., Nov. 18, ISGi. 

"To THE People of Geokgia: 

"Arise for the defense of your native soil! Pally around your 
patriotic Governor and gallant soldiers! Obstruct and destroy all 
the roads in Sherman's froni, Hank, and rear, and his army v^ill 
soon starve in your midst. Be confident. Be resolute. Trust in 
an overruling Providence, and success will soon crown your efforts. 
I hasten to join you in the defense of your homes and firesides. 

" G. T. Beaukegakd." 



'•RiciiMOXD, Nov. 10, 18G4. 
"To THE People of Geokgia: 

" We have had a special conference with Presideht Davis and the 
Secretary of War, and are able to assure you that they have done 
and are still doing all that can be done to meet the emergency that 
presses upon you. Let every man ily to arms! Pemove your 
negroes, horses, cattle and provisions from Sherman's army, and 
burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges, and block up the 



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THE MAKCII TO THE SEA. 23 

roads in ]iis route. Assail tlie invader in front, Hank, and rear, 

by night and by day. Let him liave no rest. 

"Julian llAiiTKiDGi:, Mauk Blaufoed, 

ii^' ' J. H. Eeynolds, Gkneeal X. Lester, 

% ■ 

; Jowx I. SiiOEMAKEn, Joseph M. Smitii, 

"Members of Congress." 

These impotent prayers for aid clearl}^ demon- 
strated the weakness of our opponents, and served 
but to excite the ridicule of all our men. 
/ The le2;islature of Georiria, which had been in 

h 

I session at Milledgeville, had, on our approach, 

hastily adjourned and lied. The town vras also 
largely deserted by its residents, although the inhab- 
itants of other places through which we passed 
mostly remained at home. Taking possession of 
■. the State House, some of our oiiicers organized a 

I mock Senate and House of Representatives, and 

■ after much discussion passed an act repealing the 

ordinance of secession. Whether the Governor 
signed it or not Ave never heard, l)ut it was approved 

by the loc'ic of events. 

I . 

Our march until we neared tlie sea was hardly 

W interrupted by the force opposed to us. Kilpatrick 

and the "bummers" were almost constantly skir- 






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24 THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 

niishing, but as Sherman pushed out in advance first 
one cohimn and then another, the ^^rebs," fearmg 
capture, seldom waited to engage our infantry. 
Near the village of Sandersville, however, wo had a 
little skirmish with a portion of Wheeler's cavalry. 
Our regiment, the Thirteenth New Jersey, had the 
advance, and 1 was ordered Avith my company (the 
largest in the regiment) to deploy as skirmishers on 
the left of the road and drive out Wheeler's men, 
who had dismounted, and sheltering themselves 
behind stumps and rocks were keeping up a drop- 
ping lire at long range. My men were so full of 
ardor and confidence in themselves that, hardly wait- 
ing to fire a single shot, thc}^ started on a keen run 
for the sheltered rebels and drove them pell-mell out 
of the field and back to their horses, which they 
mounted in hot haste. The movement was so 
quickly executed, and my men were so widely 
deplo3'ed, that fortunately not one of them was 
killed or wounded. It was rather a novel sight, to 
see a skirmish line make a charae. 



I The next da}' I received orders to report vrith my 

I company at corps headquarters, where I was detailed 



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THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 25 

as assistant provost marshal of the corps, and my 
company as provost and headquarters guard. This 
position I vras fortunate enough to retain until tJie 
close of the vrar, despite the efforts of my regi- 
mental commander to secure my return. A pleas- 
anter position, both for men and officers, could hardly 
be imagined. It brought me into close personal 
contact with general and stafl* officers at army, corps 
and division headquarters, and introduced me to 
many pleasant acquaintances. I\Iy men were on 
almost constant duty, but as their knapsacks were 
carried in the headquarters wagons, they were con- 
tent. They had a constantlj' increasing number of 
rebel prisoners to watch day and niglit, besides 
pitching and striking tents, doing guard duty, etc. 
We usually made camp b}- three o'clock each day, 
giving us a good opportunity for visiting, reading, 
writing, card playing and, " tell it not in Gath," 
cock fighting. The South seemed filled with game 
cocks, and each regiment, and for that matter each 
brigade, division and corps headquarters, had its 
special champion. The birds fought only with the 
weapons nature had provided them, and seemed to 
enjo^Mt as much as the spectators. 



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26 THE MARCH TO THE SEA. 

Yeiy ear]y in the march, the negroes began to 
join our columns, and their numl)ers swelled at 
ever}^ town and plantation. Their intense longing 
for freedom had become more than a passion ; it 
seemed like an uncontrollable frenzy. Of all ages, 
and both sexes, some in health, but many ])ent with 
age or feeble with disease, they struggled on, burn- 
ing to be free. A few were in wagons of various 
descriptions, some on mules or broken-down horses, 
but most of them were on foot. How lliey managed 
to subsist is a great mystery. Their privations must 
have been very great, yet, patient and uncomplain- 
* ing, they plodded on, one great hope, the hope of 

'"'"^ their race for two centuries, animating their hearts 
^nd lending strength to their weary limbs. So vast 
*'^^ an army of refugees seriously embarrassed the move- 
ment of the columns, and every eflbrt was made by 
our commanding officers to prevent their joining us, 
but without avail. General Cox, in "The March to 
the Sea," one of the " Scribner series," says : ^'Los- 
ing patience at the failure of all orders and exhorta- 
tions to these poor people to stay at home, General 
Davis (commanding the Fourteenth Corps) ordered 



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THE MARCH TO THP: SEA. 27 

the pontoon bridgo at Ebenezer Creek to be taken 
up before the refugees who were following that 
corps had crossed, so as to leave them on the further 
bank of the unfordable stream, and thus disembar- 
rass the marching troops. It would be unjust to 
that ofBcer to believe that the order would have been 
given if the effect had been foreseen. The poor 
refugees had their hearts so set on liberation, and 
the fear of falling into the hands of the Confederate 
cavalry was so great, that, with wild wailings and 
cries, the great crowd rushed, like a stampeded 
drove of cattle into the water, those who could not 
swim as well as those who could, and many were 
drowned in spite of the earnest efforts of the sol- 
diers to help them. As soon as the character of 
the unthinking rush and panic was seen, all was 
done that could be done to save them from the 
water.; but the loss of life was still great enough to 
prove that there were many ignorant, simple souls 
to whom it was literally preferable to die freemen 
rather than live slaves." 

As we approached the coast there was a decided 
change in the characteristics of the country. The 






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28 THE JIARCII TO THE SEA. j 

rich, rolling uplands of the interior were left behind i 

and we descended into the low, flat, sandy country i 

that borders, for perhaps a hundred miles, upon the j- 

sea. Here the rivers w^iden out, sometimes for } 

miles, on either side of their channels, tlowing I 

through great forests of cypress trees, from whose . | 

limbs, long, pendent masses of the mournful south- j 

ern moss sway gently in the breeze. Back from | 

the rivers the couutr^MS largely filled with a magniii- j 

cent growth of stately pines ; their trunks free, for | 

sixt}^ or seventy feet, from all branches. Camping | 

in these beautiful forests, on the thick carpet of pine 1 

needles, the air filled with the peculiar and delight- j 

ful fragrance of the pine woods, had about it a 
charm and fascination which the dweller in ceiled 
houses never knew. But these pine woods, though 
beautiful, were not fertile, and rations, particularly 
of breadstufl's, began to fail and had to be eked out 
by rice, of which we found large quantities, but 
also found it, with our lack of appliances, very dif- 
ficult to hull. ' , ^ 

The various corps began to close in upon Savan- 
nah on the tenth of December, and by the twelfth 



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THE M Alien TO THE SEA. 29 

the city was complctel}^ invested. Savannali is sit- 
uated on the right Lank of the river of that name, 
and is surrounded on the land side by C3q)res3 and 

/ rice SAvanips. Parallel to the Savannah and distant 

from it some ten or twelve miles to the south and 

; west flows the Great Ogceclice river. Coming down 

the pcninsuhir formed by these two rivers we found 

f our progress to the sea barred by Savannah on the 

\ left, and Fort ^McAllister, on the Ogeechee, on the 

f right, while between them were impassable swamps. 

\ There were, however, several narrow causeways 

running out from Savannah in different directions, 

[ and one of these crossed the Ogeechee several miles 

above Fort ^McAllister, at King's Bridge. The 
bridge, a thousand feet long, liad been destroyed, 

y but the piles on which it rested were still standing, 

and on these a new^ bridge was soon laid, and at 
daybreak of the thirteentli, Ilazen's Division of the 
Fifteenth Corps crossed to the right bank, and pass- 
ino- down tlie river stormed and carried Fort oMc- 
Allister, opening up communication with our naval 
forces under Admiral Dahlgrcn, and enabling trans- 
ports to come uj) to King's Bridge with supplies, of 
which we stood in irreat need. 



))•:>■ 









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30 THE MAKCH TO THE SEA. 

I have prcvioiislj spoken of the great number of 
refugees that followed us on our march. They 
could be counted almost by the tens of thousands, 
and the feeding of such a vast hody of non-combat- 
ants was an impossibility. As soon, therefore, as 
communication with the fleet had been established, I 
was ordered to collect all those that had followed 
the left wing and march them, with about two hun- 
dred and lifty rebel prisoners, to Fort McxVUister for 
transportation to Hilton Head. As our route from 
the north of the city to King's Bridge brought us 
within easy range and open view of the rebel lines, 
we had to make the first part of our niarcli by night 
and in perfect stillness. The darkeys had the situa- 
tion explained to them before starting, and although 
dreadfull}^ frightened, and expecting every moment 
that the rebel battei-ies would open on them, they 
behaved very well. Among the prisoners were 
j many officers, to one of whom, a bright, intelligent 

|| young man of about ni}' own age, I became some- 

jl what attracted. On the night in question, after 

I pf.ssing the danger point, I called this officer to me, 

I and dismounting w^alked arm in arm with him till we 



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a .: '{ -.III 



THE IV[ Alien TO THE SEA. 31 

halted near daybreak. Years afterwards I met tliis^ 
gentleman while crossing the North River on a Jer- 
sey City ferrj^-boat, and he inniiediatel}^ referred to 
the incident and asked for an explanation of my 
attentions that evening. I then learned for the first 
time that he was familiar with all the country around 
about Savannah, had hunted through the swamps 
and knew nil their paths, and that his plans were all 

laid for a dash for liberty, which in the darkness and 

I 

I probable confusion he thought he could safely make. 

Probably his conclusion was a correct one, but 

f luckilj^ his plan miscarried, and I was saved the 

' mortification of ever losing a prisoner. 

I dare not impose further upon your patience by 

an attempt to describe the operations that resulted 

r in the evacuation of Savannah. My paper was 

intended to portray only some of the incidents of 

the march through Georgia, and I Avill bring it to 

what I feel nuist be a welcome conclusion, by merely 

I 'sa3nng that on the night of December twentieth, 

I General (then Colonel) II. A. Barnum, one of the 

^J most popular and efficient otEcers in the service, 

'] and one whom many of you must have met at army 









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32 THE MAKCIl TO THE SEA, 



1 

I headquarters, where we were all soon awakened to 






rejoice over the glad news of the capture of Savan- 
nah. 



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reunions, was in command oF the picket line, and | 

about midnight crept out to reconnoiter. Hearing 1 

I 

and seeing no one, he quietly pushed on until the I 

I 

sight of the reloel camp fires, with no one moving j 

about them, convinced him that the enemy had lied.- '. 

Returning to his own picket line he selected a few j 

soldiers, and rapidly passing the outer rebel works | 

pressed on to the n^ain line, frowning with the heavy i 

sixty-four pounders, but silent and deserted. From 

here he sent back for an additional force with which 

to enter the cit}'', and at the same time dispatched a 

messenger with information of his discover}^ to corps 



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f\r .^<l, 



PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



or KVKNTS IN 'JIMC 



War of the Rebellion 

BEING rAl'KKS JJKAD HKKOUK THE , 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series — No. 13. 



pkovidknx'e: 

rubijshkt) by the sociiotv. 

1885. 



I 'I 



REMINISCENCES OP SERVICE 



COLOEED TEOOPS 

..XHK ; 1774401 



ARMY OF THE CUMBEELANDi 
1803-65. 



BY 

THOMAS J. MOKGAN, 
[Late Colonel J-ith U. S. Coloivd lufaiUry, Brovet Brigiidicr General U. S- V.J 



rUOVIDENCK: 
I'L'JJLISHKl) 13 Y THE SOCIETY. 

1885. 






,/:./;.i.yi-;^. '. ;/ ?• 



I 



[Edition limited to two liundied and fifty copies.] 



REMINISCENCES OF SERYIGE WITH COLORED 
TEOOPS. 



The Araerican civil war, 1861-5, marks an epoch 
not only in the bistoiy of America, but in that of 
democracy and of civilization. Its issue has vitally 
affected the course of luanan progress. To the stu- 
dent of history it ranks in interest along with the 
conquests of Alexander, the incursions of the Barba- 
rians, the Crusades, the discovery of America, and 
the American lievolution. It settled the question of 
our national unity with all the consequences attach- 
ing thereto, the power and perpetuity of a republic, 
and not onl}^ enfranchised four millions of American 
slaves of African descent, but made slavery forever 
impossible in the great republic, and gave a new 
impulse to the cause of human freedom. Its in- 
fluence upon American slaves was immediate and 
startlingly revolutionary, lifting them from the con- 






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6 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

dition of despised chattels, bought and sold like 
sheep in the market, with no rights which the V\diite 
I man was boujid to respect, to the exalted plane of 

■ American citizenship, making them free men, the 

peers in every civil and political right of their lalo 

masters. ^Yithin about a decade after the close of 

; the war, negroes — lately slaves — were legislators, 

; State officers, members of Congress, and for a brief 

time one presided over the Senate of the United 
; States, where only a few years before Toombs had 

boasted that he would yet call the roll of his slaves 
in the shade of Bunker Hill. 

To-day slavery fmds no advocate, and the colored 

race in America is making steady progress in all the 

elements of civilization. The conduct of the Amer- 

f icau slave, during and since the war, has wrought an 

extraordinary change in public sentiment regarding 
the capabilities of the race. The manly qualities of 
': ■ the negro soldiers evinced in camp, on the march and 

I in battle, won for them golden opinions and made 

I their freedom a necessity, and their citizenship a cer- 

l tainty. Those of us who assisted in organizing, dis- 

; ciplining and leading negro troops in battle, may be 



A^J^'- 






iU 



WITH COLOKED TROOPS. / 

pardoned for feeling a good degree of pride in our 
share of the thrilling events of the great war. 

When Sumter was fired upon, April, 18G1, I was 
a boy of twenl3-one, a member of the senior class in 
Franklin College, Indiana. I enlisted in the Seventii 
Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served as a private 
soldier for three months in West Virginia under 
General McClellan — "the young Xapoleon," as he 
Avas even tlien knovvn. I participated in the battle 
of Carrick's Ford, where General Garnett was killed 
and his army defeated. In August, 1862, I reen- 
listed as a first lieutenant in tlie Seventieth Indiana 
(Colonel Benjamin Harrison), and saw service in 
Kentucky and Tennessee. 

In January, 18G3, Abraham Lincoln issued the 
proclamation of emancipation, and incorporated in it 
the policy of arming the negro for special service in 
the Union army. Thus the question was fairly up, 
and I entered into its discussion with the deepest 
interest, as I saw that upon its settlement hung great 
issues. 

On the one hand, the opponents of the policy 
maintained that to make soldiers of the negroes 



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REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE | 

\ 

would be to put them on t!ie same level with white f 

soldiers, and so be an insult to eveiy man who wore I 

the blue. It was contended, too, that the negro was I 

\ not fit for a soldier Ijecause he belonged to a de- | 

graded, inferior race, wanting in soldierly qualities ; j 

h that his lono; bondai^e had crushed out whatever of | 

11 . . 

y :,\rj., manliness ho might naturally possess; that he v/as I 

■I ' I 

I too grossly ignorant to perform intelligently the | 

duties of the soldier ; that his provocation had been | 

so great as a slave that when once armed and con- . 1 

scious of his power as a soldier, he would abuse it by ' j 

acts of revenge and ^vanton crueViy. I 

On the other hand, it was urged that in its fearful 

struggle for existence, the republic needed the help 

of the able-bodied negroes ; that with their natural 

instincts of self-preservation, desire for liberty, habit 

of obedience, power of imitation, love of pomp and 

parade, acquaintance with the southern country and 

adaptation to its climate, thej^ had elements which 

peculiarly fitted them for soldiers. It was further 

urged that the negro had more at stake than the 

white man, and that he should have a chance to 

strike a blow for himself. It was particularly in- 



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WITH COLOIiED TROOPS. V 

sisted upon that he needed just the opportunity 
which army service afforded to develop and exhibit 
whatever of manliness he possessed. 

As the WHY progressed, and each great battle-iield 
was piled witli heaps of the killed and Avounded of 
our best citizens, men looked at each other seri- 
ously, and asked if a black man would not stop a 
bullet as well as a white man? jMiles O'Eeilly at 
length voiced a popular sentiment when he said : 

"The riglit to be killed, I'll divide with the nayger, , 
And give him the largest lialf." 

With the strono^ conviction that the uei>'ro was a 
man worthy of freedom, and possessed of all the 
essential qualities of a good soldier, I earl}^ advo- 
cated the organization of colored regiments, — not for 
fixtiguc or garrison duty, but for field service. In 
October, 1863, having applied for a position in the 
colored service, I was ordered before the Board of 
Examiners at Xashville, where I spent five rather 
anxious hours. When I entered the arnn^ I knew 
absohitcly nothing of the details of army life, had 
never even drilled with a fire conipany. During the 



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10 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



first three moiitlis I gatliered little e.tcept a some- J 

what rough luiscellaneous experience. As a lieuten- ] 

ant and staff officer I leai'ned something, but as I i 

never had at an v time svstematic instruction from . 1 

anybody, I appeared before the Board with little else 1 

than vigorous health, a college education, a little \ 

expe'rience as a soldier, a good reputation as an offi- j 

cer, a i\iir amount of common sense, and a good sup- 
ply of zeal. The Board averaged me, and recom- 
mended me for a Major, f, ■ 

A few days after the examination I received an 
order to report to Major George L. Stearns, who 
had charge of the orgy.nization of colored troops in 
that department. He assigned me to duty tempo- 
rarily in a camp at Xashville. Major Stearns was a 
merchant in Boston who had been for years an ardent 
abolitionist, and who, among other good deeds, had 
befriended John Brown. He was a large-hearted, 
broad-minded, genial gentleman. When the policy 
of organizing colored troops was adopted, he ollered 
liis services to the government, received an appoint- 
ment as Assistant Adjutant General, and was ordered 
to Nashville to organize colored regiments. He 



AOV 



I,.'. --'.^M i>^.ifV/ .i^'^ 



WITH COLORED TROOPS. 11 

acted directly under the Secretary of War, and inde- 
pendently of the Department Commander. To his 
zeal, good judgment and eilicient lal)or, was largel}^ 
' due the success of the work in the West. , ' . 

November 1, 1863, by order of ]\Iajor Stearns, I 
went to Gallatin, Tennessee, to organize the Four- 
teenth United States Colored Infantr3^ General E. 
A. Paine was then in command of the post at Galla- 
tin, liaving under him a small detachment of white 
* troops. There were at that time several hundred 

negro men in camp, in charge of, I think, a lieuten- 
ant. They were a motle}' crowd — old, young, mid- 
dle-aged. Some wore the United States uniform, 
but most of them had on the clothes in wliich they 
had left the plantations, or had worn during periods 
of hard service as lal)orers in the arm3\ Gallatin 
at that time was threatened with an attack by the 
guerrilla bands then prowling over that part of the 
State. General Paine had issued a hundred old 
muskets and rifles to the negroes in camp. They 
had not passed a medical examination, had no com- 
f« pany organization, and had had no drill. Almost 

V immediately upon my arrival, as an attack was immi- 


















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'CUiii 



I 12 IIEMINISCENCES OF SEliVICE | 

I I 

I . nent, I was ordered to distribute another hnndied I 

t . I 

I muskets, and to "prepare everj^ availa])le man for i 

f fight." I did the best I could under the circum- | 

i stances, l)ut am free to sa}' that I regard it as a for- I 

I tnnate circumstance that we liad no fi^htino- to do at i 

f " " •■. - i 

I that time. But the men, raw and untutored as they \ 

I ^ ■ were, did guard and picket duty, went foraging, j 

j guarded wagon trains, scouted after guerrilhis, and so i 

I learned to soldier by soldiering. • -1 

j As soon and as fast as practicable I set about 1 

I organizing the regiment. I was a complete novice J 

I in that kind of work, and all the young ofhcers who \ 

I reported to me for service had been promoted from j 

j the ranks, and were Vv'ithout experience except as . . ] 

t soldiers. The colored men knew nothina' of the 1 
I "I 

duties of a soldier, except the little they had picked , j 

i 

up as camp followers. Fortunately there was one ' j 

man, a Mr. A. II. Dunlap, who had had some cleri- I 
cal experience with Colonel Birne}^ in Baltimore, in 
organizing the Third United States Colored Infantry. 
Ho was an intelligent, methodical gentleman, and 
rendered me invaluable service. I had no quarter- 
master, no surgeon, no adjutant. "We had no tents, 



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WITH COLOKED TROOPS. 13 i 

j 

and the men were slicltered in an old, filthy tobacco 1 

warehouse, where they iiddlcd, danced, sang, swore - \ 

or prayed, according to their mood. ; 

How to meet the daily demands made upon us for 
military duty, and at the same time to evoke order 
out of this chaos, was no easy problem. The lirst i 

thing to be done was to examine the men. A room 
was prepared, and 1 and m}^ clerk took our stations 

at a table. One by one the recruits came before us ' 

a la JSden, miis the lig leaves, and were subjected 
to a careful medical examination, those avIio were in 
any way ph3'sically disc|ualiiied being rejected. 
Man}' bore the wounds and bruises of the slave- 
driver's lash, and man}' were unlit for duty by reason 
of some form of disease to which human liesh is heir. 
In the course of a few weeks, however, we had a 
thousand able-bodied, stalwart men. 

I was quite as solicitous about their mental condi- 
tion as about their physical status, so I plied them 
with questions as to their history, their experience 
with the army, their motives for becoming soldiers, 
their ideas of army life, their hopes for the future, 
etc., etc. I found that a considerable number of 
2 



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14 REMINISCENCES OF SEllYICE 

thcin had been teamsters, cooks, officers' servants, 
etc., and had thus seen a good deal of hard service 
in both armies, in camp, on the march, and in battle, 
and so knew pretty well wliat to expect. In this 
respect they had tlie advantage of most raw recruits 
from the North, who were wholly "unused to war's 
alarms." Some of them had very no])le ideas of 
manliness. I remember picturing to one bright- 
eyed fellow the hardships of camp life and campaign- 
ing, and receiving from him the cheerful answer : 
''I know all about that." I then said: "You may 
be killed in battle." He instantly replied : "Many 
a better man than me hars l)een killed in this war." 
When I told another one who wanted to " light for 
freedom," that he might lose his life, ho replied : 
" But my people will be free." '''*' ' '.'* "'"^^'^ 

The result of this careful examination convinced 
me that these men, though black in skin, had men's 
hearts, and only needed right handling to develop 
into magnificent soldiers. Among them were the 
same varieties of physique, temperament, mental and 
moral endowments and experiences as would be 
found among the same number of white men. Some 



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WITH COLORED TKOOl'S. 15 

of them Avere finel}^ formed and powerful, some were 
almost white, a large number had in their veins 
white l)lood of the F. F. V. quality, some were men 
of intelligence, and many of them deeply religious. 
Acting upon my clerk's suggestion, I assigned 
them to companies according to height, putting men 
of nearly the same height together. When the reg- 
iment was full, the four centre companies v.'ere all 
composed of tall men, the flanking companies of men 
of medium size, while the little men were sandwiched 
between. The eilect was excellent in every way, 
and made the regiment quite unique. It was not 
uncommon to have strangers, who saw it on parade 
for the first time, declare that the men were all of 
one size. -■"- - « 

In six weeks three companies were filled, uni- 
formed, armed, and had been taught many soldierly 
ways. They had been drilled in the facings, in the 
manual of arms, and in some company' movements. 

November twentieth. General George H. Thomas, 
commanding the Department of the Cumberland, 
ordered six companies to Bridgeport, Alabama, 
under command of ]\]ajor II. C. Corbin. I was left 



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16 EEMINISCEXCES OF SERVICE . j 

at Gallatin to complete the organization of the other ^ 

four companies. When the six companies were fiill, ■ 

I was mustered in as Lieutenant Colonel. The .j 

complete organization of the regiment occupied about :\ 
two months, being finished by January 1, 18G4. 

The field, staff and compan}^ officers were all white i 

men. All the non-commissioned officers, hospital ■■{ 
steward, quartermaster sergeant, sergeant major, . I 

orderlies, sergeants and corporals were colored. | 

They proved very efficient, and had the war con- | 

tinued two years longer, many of them would have '| 

been competent as commissioned officers. 4 

AVhen General Paine left Gallatin, I was senior _'i 

officer and had conunand of the post and garrison, ; 

which included a tew white soldiers, besides my own 4 

troo})s. Colored soldiers acted as pickets, and no ^ 1 

citizen was allowed to pass our lines, cither into the | 

village or out, without a proper permit. Those pre- | 

senting themselves without a pass were sent to head- i 
quarters under guard. Thus many proud southern 
slaveholders found themselves marched through the 

streets guarded by those who three months before ■ 
had been slaves. The negroes often laughed over 



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WITH COLORED TROOrS. 17 

these changed relations as they sat around their camp 
fires, or chatted together while off duty, but it was 
very rare that an}^ southerner had reason to com- 
plain of any unkind or uncivil treatment from a col- 
ored soldier. , ,^ , 

About the first of January occurred a fe^y days of 
extreme cold weather, which tried the men sorely. 
One morning, after one of the most bitter cold nights, 
the oflicers coming in from picket marched the men 
to headquarters and called attention to their condi- 
tion — their feet were frosted, and their hands 
frozen. In some instances the skin on their fingers 
had broken from the effects of the cold. It ^vas sad 
to see their suffering. Some of them never recovered 
from the eilects of that night, yet they bore it 
patiently , uncomplainingh'. 

An incident occurred while I was still an ofBcer in 
a white regiment that illustrates the curious transi- 
tion through which the negroes were passing. I had 
charge of a company detailed to guard a. wagon train 
out foraging. Early one morning, just as we were 
about to resume our march, a Kentucky lieutenant 
rode up to me, saluted, and said he had some run- 



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18 IlEMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

away negroes whom he had arrested to send back to 
their masters, but as he was ordered away, he woiiM 
torn them over to me. (At that time a reward could 
be chiimed for returnlDg fagitive slaves.) I took 
charge of them, and assuming a stern look and in;m- 
ner inquired : "Where are 3-ou going?" "Going to 
the Yankee army." "What for?" "We wants to 
be free, sir." "All right, you are free ; go wliore 
you wish." The satisfoction that came to me irom 
their heartfelt "Thankee, sir; thankee, sir," gav^^ 
me some faint insight into the sublime joy that tlic 
great Emancipator must have felt Avhen he penned 
the immortal proclamation tliat set free four million.-. 
of human being's. These men afterward enlisted in 
my regiment and did good service. One day, as wo 
were on the march, they, through their lieutenant, 
reminded me of the circumstance, which they seemed 
to remember with lively gratitude. 

The six companies at Bridgeport were kept v(M-y 
busily at work, and had but little opportunity fn* 
drill. Notwithstandimr these difficulties, howcvei', 
considerable progress was made in both drill and 
discipline. I made earnest elibrts to '^'^i the rcgi- 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 19 

nient united and relieved from so much liilmr, in 
order that they might be prepared for efficient lield 
service as soldiers. 

In January I had a personal interview with Gen- 
eral Thomas, and secured an order uniting the regi- 
ment at Chattanooga. AVe entered camp there under 
the shadow of Lookout Mountain, and in full view of 
Mission Eidge, in February, 18G4. During the 
same month, Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas, 
from Washington, then on a tour of inspection, 
visited ni}^ regiment and authoi'ized me to sui.)stitutc 
the eagle for the silver leaf. „ ;m r-. 

Cl.attanooga was at that time the headquarters of 
the Department of the Cumberland. General Thomas 
and stafl*, and a considerable part of the army, were 
there. Our camp was laid out with great regularity, 
our quarters were substantial, comfortable, and well 
kept. The regiment numbered a thousand men, 
with a full complement of iield, staif, line and non- 
conmiissioned officers^ We had a good drum corps, 
and a band })rovided with a set of expensive silver 
instruments. AVe were also fully equipped, the men 
were armed with riiled muskets, and well clothed. 



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20 KEMI^^ISCEXCES OF SERVICE j 

1 

Tbe}^ were avcII drilled in the manual of anns, and 1 

took great pride in appearing on parade with arms ^ | 

burnished, belts polished, shoes l^lacked, clothes - 1 

brushed, in full regulation uniform, including white J 

gloves. On every pleasant day our parades were ] 

witnessed by officers, soldiers and citizens from the j 

I 

North. It was not unusual to have two thousand | 

spectators. Some came to make sport, some from | 

curiosity, some because it was the foshion, and others J , 

from a genuine desire to see for themselves what I 

sort of looking soldiers negroes Avould make. j 

At the time that the woi'k of organizing colored j 

troops began in the AVest, there was a great deal of I 

bitter prejudice against the movement. AVhite | 

troops threatened to desert if the plan should be j' 

reallv carri»Hl out. Those who entered the service f 

were stigmatized as ''nigger officers," and negro sol- | 

diers were hooted jitand mistreated by white trc»ops. | 

Apropos of the [)rejudice against so-called '' ni<rger | 

officers,'' I may mention the following incidqnt : I 
AVhile an officer in the Seventieth Indiana, I had 
met and formed a passing acquaintance with LitHi- 
teuant Colonel — — , of an Ohio regiment. On N^bw 






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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 21 

Years day, 1861, I chanced to meet him at a social 
gathering at General Ward's headquarters in Xash- 
vilie. I spoke to him as usual, at the same time 
oiFering my hand, which ap]:)arently he did not see. 
Receiving onl}^ a cool bow from liim, I at once 
turned away. As I did so he remarked to those 
standing near him that he "did not recognize these 
nigger officers." A report of the occurrence in some 
way, I know not how, came to the ears of Lorenzo 
Thomas, the Adjutant General of the army, then in 
Nashville, who investigated the case, and promptly 
dismissed Colonel from tlie United States ser- 
vice. 

Very few \Yest Point officers had an}' faith in the 
success of the enterprise, and most northern people, 
perhaps, regarded it as at best a dubious experiment. 
A college classmate of mine, a youn<>' man of intelli- 
gence, and earnestly loyal, although a Kentuckian and 
a slaveholder, pleaded with me to abandon my plan of 
entering this service, saying : '* I shudder to think of 
the remorse you may sutler from deeds done by bar- 
barians under your command." 

General George II. Thomas, though a southerner 






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22 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

and :i Vv^est Point graduate, was a singularly fair- 
minded, candid man. lie asked mc one day, soon 
after my regiment was organized, if I thought my 
men would light. I replied that they would. lie 
said he thouo-ht 'Uhey mioht behind ])reastworks."' 
I said they would light in the open field. He thought 
not. ''Give me a chance, General," I ansv\"ered, 
''and I Avill prove it." Our evening parades con- 
verted thousands to a belief in colored troops. It 
was almost a dail}^ exjoerience to hear the remark 
from visitors: ''Men who can handle their arms 
as these do, will light." General Thomas paid us 
the compliment of saying that he "never saw a 
reofiment cfo throuHi the manual as Avell as this 
one." 

We remained in " Camp Whipple" from Felu'uary, 
18G4, till August, 18(35, a })eriodof eighteen months, 
and during a large part of that time the regiment 
was an object lesson to the army, and helped to rev- 
olutionize j)ul)lic opinion on the subject of colored 
soldiers. 

M}' Lieutenant Colonel and I rode over one even- 
ing to call on General Joe Hooker, commanding the 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 23 

Tweiitieth Army Coi*ps. . He occupied a small log 
hut in tlie Wauliatcliie valley, near Lookout Moun- 
tain, and not far from the Tennessee river. lie 
recei\'ed us Avith great courtesy, and when he learned 
that we were officers in a colored regiment congratu- 
lated us on our good fortune, saying that he believed 
they would make the l)est troops in the world. He 
predicted that after the rebellion was suljdued, it 
would be necessary for the United States to send an 
army into ^Mexico. This army would be composed 
largel}^ of colored men, and tliose of us now holding 
high cojnmand would have a chance to win great 
renown. He huneiited that he had made a great 
mistake in not accepting a military command and 
going to Nicaraugua with General Walker. '' Why," 
said he, ''young gentlemen, I might have founded an 
empire !'' 

While at Chattanooo^a I organized two other reiri- 
ments, tlie Forty-second and the Forty-lburth United 
States Colored Infantry. In addition to ordinary 
instruction in the duties required of the soldier, we 
established in every compan^^ a regular school, teach- 
ing the men to read and write, and taking great pains 



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24 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



to cultivate in them self-respect and all manh^ quali- I 

ties. Our success in this respect Avas ample com- ] 

pensation for our labor. The men who went on I 

picket or guard duty took their books, as quite as | 

indispensable as their coftee pots. 

It must not be supjjosed that we had only plain ; 

sailing. Soon after reaching* Chattanooga heavy j 

. ' details began to be made upon us for men to work I 

upon the fortifications then in process of construction l 

around the town. This incessant labor interfered | 

sadly with our drill, and at one time all drill was | 

I suspended ])y orders fi'om headquarters. There j 

I seemed little prospect of our being ordered to the j 

I field, and as time wore on and arrangements began • i 

in earnest for the new campaign against Atlanta, we 
began to grow impatient of w^ork and anxious for 
opportunity for drill and preparations for held ser- I 

vice. i 

I used every means to bring about a change, for 
I believed that the ultimate status of the negro was 
to be determined In^ his conduct on the battle-tleld. 
Nobody doubted that he would work, while many did 
doubt that he had the courage to stand up and light 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 25 



like a man. If he could take his place side by side i 

with the white soldier, endure the same hardships on 1 

the campaign, face the same enem}^ storm the same - ■ j 

works, resist the same assaults, evince the same sol- { 

dierly qualities, he would compel that respect which ,^. ; 

the world has alwa3^s accorded to heroism, and win ; j 

for himself the same laurels which brave soldiers , j 

have ever worn. | 

Personally I shrink from danger, and most decid- * i 

edly prefer a safe corner at my own fireside to an ! 

exposed place in the face of an enemy on the battle- j 

field, but so strongly was I persuaded of the impor- ) 

tance of giving colored troops a fair field and full i 

opportunity to show of what mettle they were made, 
that I lost no chance of insisting upon our rirjlit to be 
ordered into the field. At one time I was threat- 
ened with dismissal from the service for my per- 
sistency, but that did not deter me, for though I had 
no 3^earning for martyrdom, I was determined, if 
possible, to put my regiment into battle at whatever 
cost to myself. As I look back upon the matter, 
after twenty-one years, I see no reason to regret my 
action, unless it be that I was not even more per- 



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26 IlEMINISCENCES OF SERVICE § 

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sistent in claiming for these men the rights of sol- | 

dicrs. ^ 

I was grievously disappointed when the first of ; 

May, 1864, came, and the army was to start south, ^ 

leaving us behind to hold the forts we had helped to j 

build. I asked General Thomas to allow me at least - I 

to go along. He readily consented, and directed me | 

to report to General 0. O. Howard, commanding | 

the Fourth Army Corps, as volunteer aide. I did i 

so, and remained with him thirty days, participa- :j 

ting in the battles of Buzzards Eoost, Eesaca, Adairs- J 

villc and Dallas. At the end of that time, having ?' 

gained invaluable experience, and feeling that my 
place was with my regiment, I returned to Chatta- 
nooga determined to again make every possible effort 
to get it into active service. 

A ^ew da^^s after I had taken my place on General 
Howard's stall" an incident occurred, showing how 
narrowly one may escape death. General Stanley 
and a staff officer, and General Howard and myself 
were making a little reconnoissance at Buzzards 
Ivoost. AYe stopped to observe the movements of 
the enemy, Stanley standing on the right, Howard 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 27 

next on his left, and I next. The fourth, officer, Cap- 
tain Flint, stood immediately in rear of General 
Howard. A sharpshooter paid us a compliment in 
the shape of a rifle ball, which struck the ground in 
front of General Howard, riccocheted, passed through 
the skirt of his coat, through Captain Flint's cap, 
and buried itself in a tree behind. 

At Adairsville a group of about a dozen mounted 
ofBcers were in an open field, wiien the enemy ex- 
ploded a shell just in front and over us, vv'ounding 
tw^o ofdcers and five horses. A piece of the shell 
passed through the right fore leg of my horse, a 
kind, docile, fearless animal, that I was greatly 
attached to. I lost a friend and faithful servant. 

On asking leave to return to my command, I was 
delighted to receive from General Howard the fol- 
lowing pleasant note : 



3 .eadquai;tt:ks Fourth Akmy CoKrs, 
On Ackwokt]! ax 
8 miles from Da 



KMY CoKrs, -J 

D Dallas Eoad, ' I 
lias, Ga., May 31, 18G4. J 



Colonel: — This is to express my tliaiiks for your services upon 
my staff during the past mouth, since starting on this campaign. 
You have given mo always full satisfaction, and more, by your 
assiduous devotion to duty. 



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28 REMINISCENCKS OF SERVICE 

You have been active and untiring on the march, and fearless in 

battle. 

Believe me your friend, 

O. O. ITOWARD, 

Major Gen. Com'd'g Fourth Corps. 
To Col. T. J. Morgan, Com'd'g U. S. C. T. 

General James B. Steadman, who won such im- 
perishable renown at Chickamaiiga, was then in 
command of the District of Etowah, with head- 
quarters at Chattanooga. I laid my case before him ; 
he listened with interest to my plea, and assured me 
that if there was any fighting to bo done in his dis- 
trict, we should have a hand in it. 

August 15, 1864, we had our first fight atDalton, 
Georgia. General Wheeler, with a considerable 
force of rebel cavalry, attacked Dalton, which was 
occupied by a small detachment of Union troops 
belonging to the Second Missouri, under command 
of Colonel Laibold. General Steadman went to 
Laibold's aid, and forming line of battle, attacked 
and routed the southern force. My regiment formed 
on the left of the Fifty-first Indiana Infantry, under 
command of Colonel A. D. Streight. The fight was 
short, and not at all severe. The regiment was all 






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WITH COLORED TIJOOPS. 29 

exposed to fire. One private was killed, one lost a 
leg, and one was wounded in the right hand. Com- 
pany B, on the skirmish line, killed five of the enemy 
and wounded others. To us it was a great battle, 
and a glorious vietory. The regiment had been 
recognized as soldiers. It had taken its place side 
by side with a white regiment. It had been under 
fire. The men had behaved gallantly. A colored 
soldier had died for liberty. Others had shed their 
blood in the great cause. Two or three incidents 
will indicate the significance of the day. Just before 
going into the fight, Lieutenant Keinborts said to his 
men : "Boys, some of you \m\y be killed, but remem- 
ber you are fighting for liberty." Henry Prince 
replied : "I am ready to die for liberty." In fifteen 
minutes he lay dead, a rifie ball through his heart, a 
willing martyr. During the engagement, General 
Steadman asked his aide. Captain Davis, to look 
especiall}^ after the Fourteenth Colored, as he did 
not know how they would stand fire. Captain Davis 
rode up just as I was quietly rectifying my line, 
wliicli in a charge had been disarranged. Davis, 
putting spurs to his horse, dashed back to the Gen- 



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30 llEMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



eral, and reassured him by reporting that " the regi- | 

ment was holding dress parade over there under ] 

fire." After tlie fisrht. as we marched into town | 

. . . . . I 

throuo-h a drenchino- rain, a white reirinient, standino; i 

at rest, swung their hats and gave three rousing -| 

cheers for the Fourteenth Colored. Colonel Strciii:ht's | 

command were so pleased with the gallantry of our i 

men that many of them afterward, on being asked : | 

"What regiment?" frequently replied: "Filly-first | 

Colored." I 

During the mouth of August we had some very | 

hard marchincr in a vain eftbrt to have another brush 1 

with Wheeler's cavalr}^ | 

The corn in East Tennessee was in good plight for I 

roasting, and our men showed great facilit}'' in cook- i 

ing, and marvellous capacity in devouring it. Ten 
large ears were not too much for many of them. On 
"resuming our march one day after the noon halt, one 
of the soldiers declared himself unable to walk, and 
asked permission to ride in an ambulance. His com- 
rades said that having already eaten twelve ears of 
corn, and finding himself unable to finish the thir- 
teenth, he concluded that he must be sick and unfit 
for duty. 



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WITH COLORED TKOGI'S. 31 1 

I 

September 27, 1864, I reported to Major General j 

Eousseau, commandiDg a force of cavalry at Pulaski, '■ 

Tennessee. As yve approached the town l)y rail from 
Nashville, we heard artillcrjs then musketry, and as 
we left the cars we saw tlie smoke of guns. Forest, 
wdth a large force of cavalry, liad been steadily driv- i 

ing Eousseau before him all da3% and was destro3nng . i 

the railroad. Finding the General, I said: "I am \ 

ordered to report to 3^ou,- sir." ^' What have you?" 
"Two regiments of colored troops." Kousseau was \ 

a Kentuckian, and had not much faith in neo-ro sol- ! 

diers. Jiy his direction I threw out a strong line of \ 

skirmishers, and posted the regiments on a ridge, in 
good supporting distance. Rousseau's men retired 
behind my line, and Forest's men pressed forward f 

until they met our lire, and recognizing the sound of ! 

the minie ball stopped to reliect. i 

The massacre of colored troops at Fort Pillow was 
Tvell known to us, and had been fully discussed by 
our men. It was rumored, and thoroughly credited 
by them, that General Forest had oflcred a thousand 
dollars for the head of any commander of a "nigger" 
regiment. Here, then, was just such an opportunity 



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32 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

as those spoiling for a fight miglit desire. Negro 
troops stood face to face with Forest's veteran cav- 
alry. The firing was grov/ing hotter, and balls were f 
uncomfortably thick. At length the enemy, in I 
strong force, with banners flying, bore down toward \ 
us in fall sight, apparently bent on mischief. Point- • | 
ing to the advancing column I said, as I passed along ■ " 1 
the line : "Boys, it looks very much like fight. Keep j 
cool ; do your dllt3^■' They seemed full of glee, and | 
replied with great enthusiasm: "Col'nel, dey can't | 
whip us ; dey nebbcr git de ole Fourteenth out of i 
lieah, nebbcr." " Nebber drives us away widout a 1 
mighty lot of dead men,'' etc., etc. When Forest | 
learned that Rousseau was reinforced by infantry, he | 
did not stop to ask about the color of the skin, but f 
after testing our line, and finding it unyielding, f 
turned to the east, and struck over toward Murfrees- I 
boro. I 
An incident occurred here illustratinir the humor | 
of the colored soldier. A spent ball struck one of j 
the men on the side of the head, passed under the 
scalp, and making nearly a circuit of the skull, came 
out on the other side. His comrades merrily 



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WITH COLORED TKOOrS. 33 

declared that when the ball struck him, it sang out 
"too thick," and passed on. 

As I was walking with my adjutant down toward 
the picket line, a ball struck the ground immediately 
in front of us, about four feet away, but was so far 
spent as to be harmless. We picked it up and car- 
ried it along. 

Our casualties consisted of a few men slightly 
wounded. We had not had a battle, but it was for 
us a victory, for our troops had stood face to face 
with a triumphant troop of southern cavalry, and 
stopped their progress. They saw that they bad 
done what Rousseau's veterans could not do. Hav- 
ing travelled four hundred and sixty-two miles, we 
returned to Chattanooga, feeling that we had gained 
valuable experience, and we eagerly awaited the next 
opportunity for battle, which was not long deferred. 

Our next active service was at Decatur, Alabama. 
Hood, with his veteran army that had fought Sher- 
man so gallantly from Chattanooga to Atlanta, find- 
ing that his great antagonist had started southward 
and seaward, struck out boldly himself for Nashville. 
October twenty-seventh I reported to General li. S. 



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34 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

Gran^^cr, commanding: at Decatur, Alabama. His 
little force was closely besieged by Hood's arm}^ 
whose right rested on the Tennessee riverj below the 
town, and whose left extended far bej^ond our lines, 
on the other side of the town. Two companies of 
m}^ regiment were stationed on the opposite side of 
the river from Hood's right, and kept up an annoy- 
ing musketry fire. Lieutenant Gillct, of Company 
G, was mortally wounded by a cannon ball, and 
some of the enlisted men were hurt. One private 
soldier in Company B, who had taken position in a 
tree as a sharpshooter, had his right arm broken by 
a ball. Captain Rom'eyn said to him: ^^You would 
better come down from there, go to the rear and find 
the surgeon." "Oh, no, Captain," was his reply, "I 
can fire with my left arm," and so he did. 

Another soldier of Company B was walking along 
the road, when, hearing an approaching cannon ball, 
he dropped flat upon tlie ground and was almost 
instantly well nigh covered with the dirt ploughed up 
by it, as it struck the ground near by. Captain 
Rome3'n, who Avitncssed the incident, and who was 
greatly amused by the fellow's trepidation, asked 



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WITH COLOilED TKOOPS. 35 

him if he was frightened. His reply was: "Fore, 
God, Captain, I thought I was a dead man, sure." 

Friday, October 28, 1864, at twelve o'clock, at 
the head of three hundred and fifty-five men, in obe- 
dience to orders from General Granger, I charged 
and took a rebel battery with a loss of sixty ofUcers 
and men killed and wounded. After capturing the 
batter}^ and spiking the guns, which we were unable 
to remove, we retired to our former place on the line 
of defense. The conduct of the men on this occa- 
sion was most admirable, and drew forth high praise 
from Generals Granger and Thomas. Hood having 
decided to push on to Nashville without assaulting 
Decatur, withdrew. As soon as I missed his troops 
froiii my front, I notified the General commanding, 
and was ordered to pursue with the view of finding 
where he was. About ten o'clock the next morning, 
my skirmishers came up with his rear guard, which 
opened upon us a brisk iufontry lire. Lieutenant 
Woodworth, standing at my side, fell dead, pierced 
through the face. General Granger ordered me to 
retire inside the works. The regiment, although 
exposed to a sharp fire, came olf in splendid order. 



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36 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



As we marched inside the works, the white troops ] 

who had watched the manoeuvre , gave us three roiis- i 

ing cheers. I have heard the Pope's famous choir at j 

St. Peter's, and the great organ at Freiburg, but the I 

music was not so sweet as the hearty plaudits of our | 

brave comrades. | 

As indicating the change in public sentiment rcla- 1 

tive to colored troops, it may be mentioned that the \ 

Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Sixty-eighth In- | 

diana Volunteer Infantry, requested me as a personal i 

favor to ask for the assignment of his regiment to my j 

command, giving as a reason that his soldiers would j 

rather fi^ht alon2;side of the Fourteenth Colored, i 

than with any white regiment. He was ordered to j 

report to me. ^ 

After Hood had gone, I returned to Chattanooga, | 

but not to remain. (We had travelled two hundred j 
and forty-four miles.) 

November twenty-ninth, in command of the Four- 
teenth, Sixteenth and Forty-fourth Regiments, 
United States Colored Infantry, I embarked on a 
railroad train at Chattanooira- for Nashville. On 
December first, with the Sixteenth and most of the 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS . 37 

FourleGiith, I reached my destination and was as- 
signed to a place on the extreme left oi" General 
Thomas's army, then concentrating for the defense 
of Nashville against Hood's threatened attack. 

The train that contained the Fortj^-fourth Col- 
ored Eegiment, and tv;o companies of the Fourteenth, 
under command of Colonel Johnson, was delayed 
near IVIurfreesboro until December second, when it 
started for Nashville, but when crossing a bridge not 
far from the cit}^ its progress was suddenly checked 
hy a cross fire of cannon belonging to Forest's com- 
mand. I had become very anxious over the delay 
in the arrival of these troops, and when I heard the 
roar of cannon, thought it must be aimed at them. 
I never shall forget the intensit}' of my suffering as 
hour after hour passed by bringing me no tidings. 
Were they all captured? Had they been massa- 
cred? Who could answer? No one. What Avas to 
be done ? Nothing ; I could only Avait and suffer. 
The next da}^ Colonel Johnson reached Nashville, 
reporting that when stopped, he and his men were 
forced under heavy lire to abandon the train, clamber 
down from the bridge and run to a block house near 



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38 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE I 

I 

by, which had been erected for the defense of the i 

bridge, and was still in possession of Union soldiers. | 

After maintaining a stubborn fight until far into the | 

i 

night, he withdrew his troops, and making a detour | 

to the east, came into our lines, having lost in killed, | 

wounded and missing two officers and eighty men of I 

the Forty-fourth, and twenty-live men of the Four- | 

teenth. . I 

Just as Captain C. W. Baker, the senior officer of | 

the Fourteenth, was leaving the car, a piece of shell | 

carried away the top of his cap, and thus added I 

immensel}' to its value — as a souvenir. Some of the | 

soldiers that escaped lost everything excei)t the 
clothes they had on, including knapsacks, blankets 
and arms. In some cases they lay in the water hid- 
ing for hours, until they could escape their pursuers. 

Soon after taking our position in line at Nashville, 
we were closely besieged b}^ Hood's army, and thus 
we lay facing each other for two weeks. Hood had 
suflered so terribly by his defeat under Schoficld at 
Franklin, that he was in no mood to assault us in our 
works, and Thomas needed more time to concen- 
trate and reorganize his army before he could safely 



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WITH COLORED TKOOrS. ^^ 

lake the oiTcnsive. That fortnight interval \Yas mem- 
orable indeed. Hood's army v/as desperate. It had 
been thwarted by Sherman, and thus far baffled by 
Thomas, and Hood felt that he must strike a bold 
blow to compensate for the dreadful loss of prestige 
occasioned by Sherman's "march to the sea." His 
men were scantily clothed and poorly fed ; if he 
could gain Nashville, our great depot of supplies, he 
could furnish his troops with abundance of food, 
clothing and war material, encourage the Confed- 
eracy, terrify the people of the North, regain a vast 
territory taken from the South at such great cost to 
us, recruit his army from Kentucky, and perhaps 
invade the North. 

Thomas well know the gravity of the situation, 
and was unwilling to hazard all by a premature bat- 
tle. I think that neither he, nor any of his army, 
ever doubted the issue of the battle when it should 
come, whichever force should take the initiative. 
The authorities at Washington grew restive, and the 
people at the North nervous. Thomas was ordered 
to light ; Logan was dispatched to relieve him if he 
did not, and Grant himself started West to take com- 



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40 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

mand. Thonuis was too good a soldier to bo forced 
to offer battle until he was sure of victor3^ He knew 
that time was his best ally, every day adding to his 
strength and weakening his enemy. In the mean- 
time the weather became intensely cold, and a heavy 
sleet covered the ground, rendering it almost impos- 
sible for either army to move at all. For a few days 
our sufferings were quite severe. We had only 
shelter tents for the troops, with very little fuel, and 
many of our men who had lost their blankets keenly 
felt their need. 

On December fifth, before the storm, by order of 
General Steadman, I made a little reconnoissance, 
capturing with slight loss Lieutenant Gardner and 
•six men from the Fifth Mississippi Eegiment. 
December seventh we made another, in which Col- 
onel Johnson and three or four men were wounded. 
On one of these occasions, while my men were ad- 
vancing in face of a sharp fire, a rabbit started up in 
front of them. AVith shouts of laughter several of 
them gave chase, showing that even battle could not 
obliterate the negro's love of sport. 

lUit the great day drew near. The weather grew 



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WITH COLORED TKOOrS. 41 

warmer, the ice gave ^s^ay, Thomas was ready, and 
calling together his chiefs, hiid before them his plan 
of battle. 

About nine o'clock at night, December 14, 1864, 
I was summoned to General Steadman's headquarters. 
He told me what the plan of battle was, and said he 
wished me to open the fight by making a vigorous 
assault upon Hood's right flank. This, he explained, 
was to be a feint, intended to betray Hood into the 
belief that it was the real attack, and lead him to 
support his right by weakening his left, where 
Thomas intended to assault him in very deed. The 
General gave me the Fourteenth United States Col- 
ored Infantry, under Colonel H, C. Corbin ; the Sev- 
enteenth United States Colored Infantry, under the 
gallant Colonel W. R. Shafter ; a detachment of the 
Eighteenth United States Colored Infantry, under 
Major L. D. Joy ; the Forty-fourth United States 
Colored Infantry, under Colonel L. Johnson ; a pro- 
visional brigade of white troops under Colonel C. 
H. Grosvenor, and a section of artillery under Cap- 
tain Osborn, of the Twentieth Indiana Battery. The 
largest force I had ever handled was two regiments. 



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42 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



and as I rather wanted to open the battle in proper | 

style, I asked General Steadman what suggestions I 

i he had to make, lie replied : " Colonel, to-morrow j 

morning, at daylight, I want you to open the battle." | 

"All right, General. Do you not think it would be j 

a good plan for me to — ," and I outlined a little plan I 

; of attack. With a twinkle in his kindly eye he 

i; replied : "To-morrow morning, Colonel, just as soon 

\\ as you can see how to put your troops in motion, I 

wish you to begin the fight." "All right. General ; 
goodnight." With these explicit instructions I left | 

his headquarters, returned to camp, gave the requi- I 

site orders for the soldiers to have an early brealc- 1 

fast and be ready for serious work at daybreak. \ 

Then taking Adjutant Clelland I reconnoitered the j 

enemy's position, tracing llie line of his camp fires, j 

and decided on my plan of assault. The morning j 

dawned with a dense fog, which held us in check for i 

some time after we were ready tOfcmarch. 

During our stay at Nashville, I was the guest of 
IMajor W. B. Lewis, throt'igh whose 3'ard ran our 
line. He had been a warm personal friend of 
Andrew Jackson, occupying a place in the Treasury 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 43 

Department during his administration. He gave me 
the room formerly occupied by the hero of New 
Orleans, and entertained me with many anecdotes of 
him. I rememJ3er in particular one which I espec- 
ially appreciated, because of the scarcity of fuel in 
our own camp. At one time General Jackson ordered 
certain troops to rendevouz for a few days at Nash- 
ville. Major Lewis, acting as quartermaster, laid 
in a supply of several hundred cords of wood, which 
he supposed would be ample to last during their 
entire stay in the cit}^ The troops arrived on a 
"raw and gusty day," and being accustomed to com- 
fortable fires at home, they burned up every stick 
the first night, to the Quartermaster's great conster- 
nation. 

To return. On the morning of December fif- 
teenth, Major Lewis said he vrould have a servant 
bring me my breakfast, which was not ready, how- 
ever, when I started. The boy, with an eye to 
^safety, followed me afar off, so far that he only 
reached me, I think, about two o'clock in the after- 
noon. But I really believe the delay imjD roved the 
flavor of the breakfast. 



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44 REMINISCENCES^'OF SERVICE 

As soon as the fog lifted, the battle began in good 
earnest. Hood mistook my assault for an attack in 
force upon his right flank, and weakening his left in 
order to meet it, gave the coveted opportunity to 
Thomas, who improved it by assailing Hood's left 
flank, doubling it up, and capturing a large number 
of prisoners. 

Thus the first day's fight wore away. It had been 
for us a severe but glorious day. Over three hun- 
dred of my command had fallen, but everywhere our 
arm}^ was successful. Victory perched upon our 
banners. Hood had stubbornly resisted, but had 
been gallantly driven back with severe loss. The 
left had done its duty. General Steadman con- 
gratulated us, saying his onl}^ fear had been that we 
might fight too hard. We had done all he desired, 
and more. Colored soldiers had fought side by side 
with white troops. The}' had mingled together in 
the charge. They had supported each other. They 
had assisted each other from the field when "svounded, 
and they lay side by side in death. The survivors 
rejoiced together over a hard-fought field, won by a 
common valor. All who witnessed their conduct 



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WITH COLORED TKOOrS. 45 

gave them equal praise. The clay that we had longed 
to see had come and gone, and the sun went down 
upon a record of coolness, bravery, manliness, never 
to be unmade. A new cliapter in the history of lib- 
erty had been written. It had been shown that 
marching under a flag of freedom, animated hy a 
love of liberty, even the slave becomes a man and a 
hero. 

At one time during the day, while the battle was 
in progress, I sat in an exposed place on a piece of 
ground sloping down toward the enemy, and being 
the only horseman on that part of the field, soon 
became a target for the balls that w^histled and sang 
their threatening songs as they hurried by. At 
length a shot aimed at me struck my horse in the 
face just above the nostril, and passing up under the 
skin emerged near the e^^e, doing the horse only 
temporary harm, and letting me off scot free, much 
to my delight, as maybe supposed. Captain Baker, 
lying on the ground near by, heard the thud of the 
ball as it struck the horse, and seeing me land on 
the ground, cried out: "The Colonel's shot," and 
sprang to my side, glad enough to find that the poor 












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horse's face had been a shield to save mj life. I was j 

sorry that the animal could not appreciate the grati- 1 

tude I felt to it for my deliverance. ' J 

During that night Hood withdrew his army some | 

two miles, and took up a new line along the crest of 1 

some low hills, which ho strongl}^ fortified with some j 

improvised breastworks andabattis. Soon after our \ 

early breakfast we moved forward over the inter- \ 

vening space. My position was still on the extreme \ 

left of our line, and I was especially charged to look 
well to our flank to avoid surprise. 

The Second Colored Brigade, under Col. Thomp- 
son, of the Twelfth UEited States Colored Infan- | 
tr}^ was on my right and participated in the first I 
charge upon Overton's Hill, which v/as repulsed. I j 
stood where the whole movement was in full view. j 
It was a grand and terrible sight to see those men I 
climb that hill over rocks and fallen trees, in the fiice 
of a murderous lire of cannon and musketry, and 
often reaching the enemy's works only to be driven 
back. White and black minf^jled toofcther in the 
charge and on the retreat. 

When the Second Colored Brigade retired behind 



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WITH COLOllED TliOOPS. 47 

my line to reform, one of the regimental color-bear- 
ers stopped in the open space between the two armies, 
where, although exjoosed to a dangerous fire, lie 
planted his flag firml}^ in the ground, and began 
deliberately and coolly to return the enemy's fire ; 
and, greatly to our amusement, kept up for some lit- 
tle time his independent warfare. 

AYhen the second and fmal assault was made, the 
right of my line took part. It was with breathless 
interest I watched that noble army climb that hill 
with a steady resolve which nothing but death itself 
could check. AYhen at length the assaulting column 
sprang upon the earthworks, and the enemy seeing 
that further resistance was madness, gave way and 
began a precipitous retreat, our hearts swelled as 
only the hearts of soldiers can, and scarcely stopping 
to cheer, or to await orders, we pushed forward and 
joined in the pursuit until the darkness and the rain 
forced a halt. 
i The battle of Nashville did not compare in num- 

i bers engaged, in severity of fighting, or in the losses 

]■ sustained, with some other western ])attles. But in 

the issues at stake, the magnificent generalship of 



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48 REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 

Thomas, the completeness of our triumph, and the 
immediate and far-reaching consequences, it was 
unique, and deservedly ranks along with Gettys- 
burg as one of the decisive battles of the war. 

Vfhen General Thomas rode over the battlc-iicld 
and saw the bodies of colored men side by side with 
the foremost on the very works of the enem}^ he 
turned to his staff, saying : ''Gentlemen, the question 
is settled ; negroes will light." He did me the honor 
to recommend me for promotion, and told me that 
he intended to give me the best brigade he could 
form. This he afterward did. 

After the great victory we joined in the chase after 
the fleeing foe. Hood's army was whipped, demor- 
alized, and pretty badly scattered. A good many 
stragglers were picked up. A story circulated to 
this effect : Some of our boys, on making a shai'i) 
turn in the road, came upon a forlorn southern sol- 
dier who had lost his arms, thrown aAvay his accou- 
trements, and was sitting on a log by the roadside, 
waiting to give himself up. He was saluted with : 
''Well, Johnny, how goes it?" "Well, Yanks, I'll 
1«11 ye. I confess I'm horribly whipped Jind badly 
demoralized, but blamed if I'm scattered." 






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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 49 

After we had passed throiigli Franklin, we had 
orders to turn al)out and return to that city. I was 
riding at the head of the cohinm, followed by my 
own rcgin}cnt. The men were swinging along, 
"arms at will," when they spied General Thomas and 
staff approaching. Without orders they brought 
their arms to "right shoulder shift," took the step, 
and striking up their favorite tune of "John Brown," 
whistled it with admirable cHcct while passing the 
Ge^icral, greatl}' to his amusement. 

We had a very memoral)lc march from Franklin 
to jMurfrcesl)oi'0 over miscral)le dirt roads. About i 

! 

December nineteenth or twentieth, we were on the \ 

march at an earlv hour, but the rain was there before 

I 
us, and stuck by us closer than a bi'other. We were I 

drenched through and through, and few had on a dry j 

thread. We waded streams of water nearl3' waist ' ' I 

deep, we pulled through mud that seemed to have no 1 

bottom, and where man}' a soldier left his shoes 

seeking for it. The open woods pasture where 

we went into camp that night, was surrounded with 

a high fence made of cedar rails. That fence was left ' 

standing, and not a rail was touched — ui^itil — well ! 



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50 REMINISCEXCES OF SERVICE 



I do believe that llie owner's bitterness at his loss 1 

was fully balanced b}^ tlic comfort and good cheer ) 

which those niagniiicent rail lires afforded ns that | 

December night. They did seem providentially pro- j 

vided for us. I 

During the night the weather turned cold, and { 

when we resumed our march the ground was frozen, \ 

and the roads were simply dreadfid, especially for - 

those of our men who had lost their shoes the day 
before, and were now compelled to walk barefoot, 
tracking their way with blood. Such experiences | 

take away something of the romance sometimes sug- \ 

gested to the inexperienced by tlie phrase, ^'soldier- I 

ing in the sunny soutli ;" but, then, a touch of it is I 

worth havinu' for the liuht it tlu'ows over such his- I 

torical scenes as those at Valley Foriie. i 

We continued in the pursuit of Hood as far as | 

Iluntsville, Alabama, when he disappeared to return 1 

no more, and we were allowed to go back to Chat- 
tanooga, glad enough of an opportunity to rest. 
Distance travelled, four hundred and twenty miles. 

AVe had no more fighting. There wei-e many 
interesting exi)criences, which, however, 1 will not 



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WITH COLORED TROOPS. 51 

take time to relate. In August, 18G5, being in com- 
mand of the post at Knoxville, Tennessee, after 
forty months of service, grateful to have escaped 
without imprisonment, wounds, or even a day of 
severe illness, 1 resigned my commission to resume 
my studies, which the foolish iiriiig on Fort Sumter 
had so rudely interrupted. 

Colonels Shafter, Johnson, Corl/m, and a number 
of line officers who Avere with me in the colored ser- 
vice, entered the regular arm}', where some are still 
on duty. I was strongly urged to do the same, but 
my tastes were not militarv. So \oivj: as the Union 
was imperilled, and there were blows to be struck for 
freedom, I could endure the hardships and enjoy the 
service of the arm}'. But when peace came, I felt 
that my place was in the ranks of those who seek in 
some humble way to assist in promoting educa- 
tion and nioral and social reforms. 

I cannot close this paper without expressing the 
conviction that history has not yet done justice to 
the share borne by colored soldiers in the war for 
the Union. Their conduct during the war has been 
a silent, but moat potent factor in inlluencing public 



52 ke:\itxiscexcf.s of sehyice. 

sentiment, shaping Icli: rlalion, and fixing the status 
of colored people in America. If the records of 
their achievements could he put into such shape that 
they could be accessible to the lliousands of colored 
youth in the South, they would kindle in their young 
minds an enthusiastic devotion to liberty and man- 
hood. 



PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IX THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BE1^'G PAPEKS READ EEFOEE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 14. 



pkovidi:n'ce: 

publisued by the society. 

1885. 



) ; : 



FROKTiER SERVICE DURING THE REBELLION 



OR, A 



niSTOEY OF COMPANY K, 



FIRST IIIFAIITRY, CALIFOENIA YOLUKTEERS. 



GEOEGE II. PETTIS, 

[Brevet Captain United States Volunteers; Late First Lieutenant Company K, 

First California Infantry, and First lieutenant and 

Adjutant First New Mexico Infantry.] 



PROVIDENCE: 
rUDLISIIED BY THE SOCIETY. 

1S85. 



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FEONTIER SERVICE DURIKG THE REBELLION. 



The first battle of Ball Run had been fought. The 
government had l^ecome satisfied that tlie slavehold- 
er's rebellion was not to be put down with sevent}'- 
five thousand men. The Union people of the United 
States no^v full}' realized that the rebels were to use 
every effort on their part towards the establishment 
of the Confederac}', and the men of the north, on 
their part, were ready to " mutally pledge to each 
other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" 
to' preserve the government as their fathers l^efore 
them had pledged themselves to establish it. The 
loyal States were read}^ to respond to any demand 
made upon them I)}' the government, and there were 
none more anxious to do their dut}^ to the old liag 
than the Union men of California. 

The people of that far distant part of our country 
were, in the early days of our ^'late unpleasantness," 



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b FIIOXTIER SERVICE ; 

■ i 

stirred to their very depths. A large portion of the J 

inhabitants had emiirrated from the southern States, 1 

and were, therefore, in sj^mpathy with their brethren j 

I at home. General Joe Johiiston ^vas in command of | 

\^ themilitary department, and a majority of the regidar I 

; , officers under him were s^^mpathizers with the rebel- | 

U lion, as Avere a majority of the State officers. The | 

% United States gunboat " ^Vyoming," lying in tlie | 

harbor of San Francisco in the early part of '61, was J 

officered b}^ open advocates of secession, and only ] 

by the secret coming of General E. V. Sumner, who 

,4 arrived by steamer one fine morning in the earl}" 

f part of '61, totall}" unknown and unannounced, and 

I presenting himself at the army headquarters on 

I Washington street, San Francisco, without delay, 

I ' with, "Is this Gen. Johnston?" "Yes, sir." "I 

I am General E. V. Sumner, United States Army, 

{ and do now relieve 3^0 u of the command of this 

I department," at the same time delivering the orders 

' to this elfect from the AVar Department at Washing- 

! ton, were the people of the Pacific States saved from 

i a contest which would have been more bitter, more 

; fierce, and more unrelentinir than was exhibited in 



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ERRATUM 



On pages G and 7 read for "General Joe John- 
ston," General Albert Sidney. Johnston. 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 7 

any part of ,the United States during all those long 
four years of the war. 

As I have said before, the prompt and secret 
action of the government and that gallant old soldier, 
General E. Y. Sumner (for you all will remember 
that California had no railroads and telegraphs in 
those days), prevented civil war there. The seces- 
sionists, who were preparing to take possession of 
the property of the government in that department 
and turn the guns of ~Alcatraz, Fort Point and the 
Presidio upon the loyalists, were taken completely 
aback; they delayed action. General Sumner took 
all precautions against surprise, and the Union men 
of the Pacitic States breathed free again, for civil 
war had been driven from their doors. a\Iany of the 
secession leaders, with General Joe Johnston, seeing 
their plans miscarry, left the State shortl}" after, and 
did service in the Confederate armies. 

On the steamer from the States that brouirht the 

o 

news to California of the disaster at Bull Pun, came 
orders from President Lincoln for that State to fur- 
ish its quota of men for the Union arm3\ The same 
afternoon, the Franklin Liaht Infantry, a militia 






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8 FRONTIER SERVICE 

coDipany, composed of printers only, held a meeting 
at its aumoiy on Sacramento street, and voted miani- 
moiisly to otier their services to the government, 
which was accordingly done, and they Avere the fu'st 
compan}^ that was mustered into the United States 
service in California, and was afterwards known as 
Company B, First Infantiy, California Volunteers, 
and were officered as follows : Captain, Valentine 
Drescher; First Lieutenant, Francis S. Mitchell; 
Second Lieutenant, George II. Pettis. Other com- 
panies were soon formed, and the regiment, with nine 
companies, went into camp of instruction at Camp 
Downey, near Oakland. 

The regiment had been in camp but a few days 
when it was ordered to proceed by steamer to Los 
Anij-eles, in Southern California. The transfer was 
made, and the regiment went into camp a]jout nine 
miles from Los Angeles, on the seashore, where the 
town of Santa ]Monica now is. The First Battalion 
Cavalry, California Volunteers, consisting of five 
companies, under command of Lieutenant Colonel 
Davis, who was afterwards killed before Eichmond, 
also accompanied us. In a few days after the estab- 



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DURINO THE EEBELLION. y 

lisbment of this camp, Lieutenant Pettis, of Com- 
pany B, was sent on detaclicd duty as recruiting 
ofScer to San Francisco, in order that the nine com- 
panies now in camp should be filled to the maximum 
standard. The tenth compan}^ had not been admit- 
ted to the regiment as yet, although several had made 
application for the position. 

Lieutenant Pettis arrived in San Francisco about 
the fifteenth of October, and immediately conmienced 
business by opening his recruiting office on the cor- 
ner of i\Iontgomer3^ and Clay streets, in the same 
building with the Morning Call, He was success- 
ful, as by the fifteenth of January lie had recruited 
and sent to the regiment one hundred and two men, 
and was ordered ])v General Geora'c Wrio-ht, then 
commanding the department of California (and who 
was afterwards lost on the steamer " Brother Jona- 
than " on his Avay to Oregon) , to close his office and 
join his regiment at Camp Latham. In the mean- 
time, four conrpanies of the regiment, under Major 
E. A. Bigg, had proceeded to Fort Yuma, on the 
Colorado river, and relieved the regulars who were 
there. Captain Winfield Scott Hancock, Assistant 



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10 FIIONTIER SERVICE I 

I 

Quartermaster United States Army, had also been | 

relieved and ordered to the States. lie had Ijeen on \ 

duty at Los Angeles. Three companies of the regi- | 

ment had hecn ordered to Warner's Ranch, al)0ut 
halfway between Los Angeles and Fort Yuma, and 
established Camp Wright. On the twelfth of Feb- 'i 

ruary, orders had been received by Colonel J. H. "^ 

Carlcton, commanding the regiment, to form the tenth 
company of his regiment from the recruits enlisted 
in San Francisco by Lieutenant Pettis. Company' 
K, First Infantry, California Volunteers, was thus 
formed, and was officered as follows : Captain, 
Nicholas S. Davis, promoted from First Lieutenant 
of Company A ; First Lieutenant, George H. Pettis, 
promoted from Second Lieutenant of Company B ; 
Second Lieutenant, Jeremiah Phclan, appointed 
from Hospital Steward of the regular army. 
• In the meantime, the government at Washington 
had received information that General 11. H. Siblc}^ 
had left San Antonio, Texas, with al)out three thou- 
sand seven hundred rebel soldiers for Xew Mexico, 
and as the government had immense stores of cloth- 
ing, camp and garrison equipage, and commissar}' 






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DURING THE REBELLION. 11 

stores in different posts in that Tcrritoiy and Ari- 
zona, with but few troops to defend them, and a 
majority of the officers avowed secessionists, the rebels 
expected an easy conquest. Accordingly, Colonel 
Carleton had orders to organize what was known as 
the "California Column," which consisted of the 
First and Fifth Infantr}^ California Volunteers, 
(George W. Bowie was Colonel of the Fifth Infantry, 
California Volunteers) ; First Battalion Cavalry, 
California Volunteers ; Company B, Captain John 
C. Cremoney, Second Cavalry, California Volun- 
teers, and Light Battery A, Third United States 
Artillery, Captain John B. -Shinn. 

That an idea ma}^ be obtained of the difficulties of 
this enterprise, I will say that it is about nine hun- 
dred miles from Los Angeles to the Eio Grande, not 
a pound of food or of forage was to be ol)tained on 
the route, and everything to be consumed had to be 
brought from California. Neither was there, as we 
afterwards ascertained, a single resident in all that 
long march, except at Fort Yuma. The country 
through which the " Column " passed was without 
water, and the Colorado and Gila Deserts to be 



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12 FRONTIER SERVICE ] 

I crossed before we should come in sight of the green 

cottonwoods of the Rio Grande. The Apache 
Indians supposed that they had driven all the whites 
out of the Territory of Arizona, and the former re- 
quired constant Avatching and attention. In conse- 
quence of the scarcity of water on the route, tlie 
''Column" could only be moved in detachments. i 

Companies K and C, First Infantry, and Company I 

., G, Fifth Infantry, Captain Hugh L. Hinds, left ] 

Captain Latham about the first of iMarch, 1862, ! 

under command of Captain William McMullen, of ] 

Company C, and arrived at Camp Wright in due : 

season, it being about one hundred and forty miles. 
The only incident on this march worthy of mention 
was,' that when the battalion marched through the 
town of Los Ansreles the American fla<2: had been 
hauled down from the court house. As it was well ' 

known that the people of Los Angeles at that time \ 

were nearly all strong in their sympathies with the 
rebellion, it wtis thouo:ht that the haulins; down of the 
flag was to insult the command. Consequently, on \ 

the arrival of the battalion on the banks of the Los 5 

Angeles river, which flows on the eastern side of the ^ 



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DURING THE REBELLIOX. 13 

town, it ^Yas baited and Captain McMullen returned, 
and, finding some of the town oiEcials, insisted that 
the flag should be hoisted immediately. The citizens 
denied any intended insult to the ilag, and proceeded 
to replace it, which being seen by the men of the 
battalion, they gave three cheers, and continued on 
their way. 

A delay of a couple of weeks at Camp AYright, 
when orders were received by Lieutenant Colonel 
J. R. West, of the First Infantr^^ commanding at 
Camp Wright, to organize the advance detachment 
of the "Column," to consist of Companies K and C, 
First Infantry, California Volunteers, and Companies 
B and G, Fifth Infantry, California Volunteers, and 
proceed without delay to Fort Yuma. The com- 
mand as above constituted left camp at a late hour 
in the afternoon, and after a short march made camp 
beside a laguna, or pond. It rained during the night, 
and daylight found us at breakfast, which was 
quickly dispatched, and we were soon on our march, 
the road continually ascending. At nine o'clock in 
the forenoon we had reached the line of snow, where 












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14 FRONTIER SERVICE j 

I 

it was snowing heavily. At noon we had reached \ 

the summit, and found llie snow about two feet in i 

depth, and as cold as Greenland. A short halt was ! 
made, vv hen great fires were built to warm the men, 

and then the command moved down the mountain. j 

At three o'clock in the afternoon we passed through | 

the line of snow, shortly after through the precipi- j 

tons canon of San Felipe, and towards evening went } 

into camp, the grass being more than knee high, the j 

air redolent with the perfume of flowers and the I 

sweet melody of the birds. j 

A short march the next day brought us to Las Dos j 

Palmas, or the "Two Palms," so called from the fact ! 

that two luxuriant palm trees formerly flourished I 

here, the stumps of which were then to be seen. j 

Thence to Carizo Creek, nine miles, where the com- " | 

m'and rested one day. Here commences the then j 

much-dreaded Colorado Desert. For more than a | 

hundred miles we were at the mercy of its sands and J 

storms and burning sun. Such another scene of I 
desolation does not exist on the American continent ; | 

treeless mountains on either side, brown and sombre | 

to their ver}' tops ; no signs of life were to be seen 



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j DURING THE REBELLION. 15 

j anyvrliere. Although it was in the first days of April, 

j still the sun poured down with an intensity that I 

I had never before experienced, no shade could be 

\ found, and the very water in the creek could not be 

' batlied in — beino; more fit for cookin^^ than bathinor, 

it being so hot. Such was the Colorado Desert as 

we approached it. What will it be further on ? We 

shall see. 

The command left camp at Carizo Creek in the 
middle of the afternoon, and continued the march 
until midnight, when w^e arrived at Sackett's "Wells. 
Here it was supposed a ration of water for the men 
would be found, but upon examination it was ascer- 
tained that somebody had knocked the bottom out 
of the well, and no water was to be obtained, except 
such as could be caught in cups as it trickled drop 
by drop from the strata of clay that had heretofore 
formed the bottom of the well. No camp could be 
\ made here, and the command moved on, marching 

I until about ten o'clock in the morning, when we 

[ arrived at the Indian Wells, having made thirty-two 

I miles. A large number of the men were now suf- 

l fering for the want of water, and the animals, upon 



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16 FRONTIER SEinaCE | 

I discoverins: the i>Teen bushes in the distance, near 

these wells, iiricked their ears, and every exertion 
was requh'cd by riders and drivers to prevent a 
stampede, so much wei'e they in want of water. 
Upon our arrival it was found that but a few buckets 
of Avatcr was in the well, as a detachment of cavahy 
had made camp there the day before, and had only 
left upon seeing our command approach, using all 
the water in the well for their animals before leav- 
ing. However, guards were placed over the Avell, 
men sent down to pass the water up as it collected, 
and in the course of a few hours the men had each 
received his pint of water ; then the animals were 
furnished. 

Before the water had all been distributed, one of 
those terrible sand storms for which this desert is 
renowned beaan, and as the sun went down it was" 
at its very height. Xeither man nor animal could 
face this shower of stones and gravel, and the sand 
and dust penetrated ever^'thing. The only thing 
that was to be done was to throw oneself down upon 
Lis face, draw his blankets around him, and ride it 
out, sleeping. The storm continued through the 









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DURING THE REBELLIOX. 17 

night, and before dawn approached it had ceased, 
and upon crawling out of my sand bank, I saw in all 
directions what appeared to be graves, but they were 
only mounds of sand that had been formed by the 
storm over the bodies of the soldiers. Imagine, if 
you can, near four hundred of these mounds becom- 
ing animate and dissolving in the desert, as reveille 
sounded. 

At about noon the command moved on, and after 
marching twenty-five miles arrived at Alamo Mucho 
at about two o'clock in the morning. Here was 
found a well that would have furnished water for an 
army corps — sweet, cold water. It was a pleasure 
to look at this, to hold it in a tin cup, loolv at it, 
take a mouthful, holding it there a time before swal- 
lowing it ; it seemed a sin to drink it. This water 
was not taken on the 'point of the bayonet, as water 
had been taken for the past four days, and we had 
marched sixty-six miles from Los Dos Palmos since 
ive had our fill of water. After the men had satis- 
fied their thirst they spread their blankets wherever 
they pleased, and there was no person in that com- 
mand, except the guard, that was not soon in the 
iirms of Morpheus. 






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into camp. Here we met Don Ptiscual, a head chief 
of the Yumas, Don Diego Jaeger, and the ''Great 
Western," three of the most celebrated characters in 
the annals of Fort Yuma. 

It was supposed that our command was to consti- 
tute the advance of the "Column" from Fort Yuma. 



18 FRONTIER SERVICE 

Before daylight another sand storm commenced, I 

and Avhen reveille was beat off, not a dozen men were | 

in line, and they were only brought out of their sand j 

hills by beating the long roll. The storm subsided .% 

in the early afternoon, when the command moved on, I 

I 

making Gardiner's Wells, twelve miles,- before sun- j 

■" 

down, where was found a fnie well with plent}' of . j 

water, but none of the command wanted any, the J 

only objection being, and that a slight one, that l 

there was standins^ above the level of the water in I 

the well, a pair of boots — and a dead man in them. I 

Seven Wells was soon reached, and, as the name | 

implies, there were plenty of wells, but there was no ^| 

water. Thence to Cook's Well, twelve miles, with .] 

plent}^ of good water, thence fourteen miles to the 1 

Colorado river, at Algodones. The next day, before i 

noon, the command arrived at Fort Yuma and went ,i 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 19 

But upon our arrival at that point, we found that a 
reconnoitering party, consisting of Company I, First 
California Infantr}^, Captain W. P. Callowa}^ ; Com- 
pany A, First California Cavalry, Captain William 
McLeave, and Lieutenant Phelan, with detach- 
ments for two mountain howitzers, had been sent 
up the Gila river, as the Indians had reported that a 
large body of rebels were advancing on Fort Yuma 
from Tucson. On the third day after our arrival we 
crossed over the Colorado river and continued our 
march. AYe passed the divide between the Colorado 
and Gila rivers, and arrived at Gihi City that after- 
noon, eighteen miles. Our route was the old over- 
land stage route on the south side of the Gihi. Here 
we- first saw that peculiar and picturesque cactus, so 
characteristic of the country, called by the Indians 
"jpe^aya/i," Initmore generally known as the ^'suaro,'^ 
and recognized by l)otanists as the '' Cereiis g randeus.'^ 
Our next march was to Filibuster camp, eleven 
miles ; thence to Antelope Peak, fifteen ; Mohawk, 
twelve ; Texas Hill, eleven ; Stanwix, seventeen ; 
Burke's, twelve miles. Here we found the recon- 
noitering party ,^ under Captain Callowaj^, that had 






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20 ' FEONTIER SERVICE 

left Fort Yuma a few clays before our arrival there. 
They had had a brush with the rebels at Picacho, 
a point about forty-five miles west of Tucson. Lieu- 
tenant Barrett, Company A, First Cavalry, Califor- 
nia Volunteers, and three men of the same compan}', 
had been killed. The}^ had secured three rebel 
prisoners. The poor devils were under guard beneath 
some cottonwoods in their camp. The}^ were now 
on their return to Fort Yuma. 

The next morning our command moved out with 
more alacrity than usual, for we felt that we were 
now the advance of the " Column," and we would 
meet the rebels, too. A short march of twelve | 

miles broui^-ht us to Oatman Flat. AVe had come ] 

I 
down from the high mesa lands into this valley, and | 

as we passed through near the middle of it, saw upon • " ] 

the right side of the road a small enclosure of rails, | 

on one end of which was inscribed " The Oatman | 

Family." AA"e had all heard of this tragedy years | 

before, and now we were upon the spot where the 

terrible massacre had been perpetrated. Xo one of 

us could look upon this humble monument without 

awakening a feeling of revenge, and many were the 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 21 

silent pledges given that day that when the oppor- 
tunity should offer, that at least one shot would be 
given for these silent victims to Indian treachcr3\ 
One officer was so allected that he approached Col- 
onel J. R. '\yest, oar commanding officer, with the 
interrogatory: '^ Colonel, if we should at any- time 
meet any of these Indians, what course should be 
pursued towards them?" "Tell your men when 
they see a head, hit it if they can ! " was the Col- 
onel's quick rejoinder. You ma}^ think this to have 
been rather harsh, but remember we were standing 
above the remains of the innocent victims of a most 
terrible tragedy. 

A few miles after leavinir Oatman's Flat we came 
to a pile of innnense boulders in the centre of a 
pleasant valley. These were the famous "Pedras 
Pintados," or painted rocks. A march of fourteen 
miles broufiht the command to Kenvon's. The next 
day, after sixteen miles marching, we arrived at 
Gila Bend. Here we lay over a day, as our next 
march was to be to the Maricopa "Wells, forty miles 
distant, the dreaded Gila Desert. After marching 
all night and all of the next day, we approached the 



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22 FRONTIER SERVICE 

Maricopa ^Yclls at about twelve o'clock on the sec- 
ond night. When within a mile of this point, a 
small reconnoitering part}^ that had been sent ahead 
of our command, met us and reported that a large 
force of the rebels had possession of the wells, and 
from appearances intended to prevent our command 
from reaching there. This report served to put new 
life into ever3diodj, notwitlistanding that the whole I 

command had now been Avithout sleep for over forty | 

hours, had marched forty miles and was some^vhat | 

fatigued. One compan}^ was thrown out as skir- | 

mishers, the rest of the command in line of battle. | 

We approached the watering place, and when we | 

arrived there, instead of finding a formidable enemy, j 

we found a half a dozen of our OAvn cavalry that had 
been scouting ahead of the command. We found 
the water strongly impregnated with alkali, but it 



served to assuao:e our thirst. 



o 



A short march of ten miles then brought us to the 
Casa Blanca, the largest village of the Pimo Indians. 
Our command remained here for several weeks, 
until at least a large part of the "Column" had 
arrived, and large stores of commissaries and forage 



,jv;.;. 



Ji, ■■■:■ r 






DUEIXG THE REBELLION. 23 

had been eollcctcd. Our Indian scouts and spies 
brought every few da^^s extravagant reports of the 
force of rebels at Tucson, and they all agreed that 
when our troops should reach that point, we would 
meet with a warm reception, and that rifle-pits, sufli- 
ciently manned, extended a long Avays on either side 
of the town. These Indians were on the best of 
terms with us, as they had sold large amounts of 
their produce to our command, for which they had 
been promptly and abundantly paid — a different ex- 
perience when the rebels were there. They had 
been emplo3'ed by our quartermaster's department 
as herders of our beef cattle, and were paid to their 
own satisfaction for all services they had rendered, 
but no inducement that our commander offered them, 
no amount of pay, could influence any one of them 
to accompany us towards Tucson, so assured were 
they that we were to be "wiped out" before we 
should reach there. 

On or about the twelfth day of May, 1862, the 
advance, constituted as before stated, with B Com- 



pany, California Cavahy, Captain Emil Fritz, added, 
left the peaceful and hospitable homes of the Pimos, 



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24 FRONTIER SERVICE j 

I 

and arrived at the Sacatone, twelve miles. Here we \ 

left the overland mail road, which w^e had folloAved I 

since leaving Los Angeles, and keeping up the south ^ 

bank of the Gila to White's Eanch ; thence to the 
celebrated ruins of the Casa Blanca, so graphically | 

described by Mr. John E. Bartlett in his "Personal t 

Narratives " of the Boundary Commission ; thence to 1 

Rattlesnake Spring; thence to old Fort Breckenridgc, | 

w^hich had been so cowardly deserted the ^^-ear before ^'| 

by our regular troops ; thence to Canon de Oro. As I 

we now approached Tucson, every thing was in fighting 1 

trim. A short halt was made near the town, and 
the cavalry company, in two divisions, approached 
the place from the north and west. The infantry 
marched in by the main street from the west, with 
the field music playing "Yankee Doodle," and in- 
stead of being received by shot and shell, we found 
neither friend nor enemy, only a village without 
population, if we except some hundreds of dogs and 
cats. 

When we were at the Pimos, Governor Pesquira, 
of Sonora, Mexico, arrived there from California on 
his way home ; he was allowed to pass our lines ; he 



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DUFJNG THE REBELLION. 25 

and his party firrived in Tucson a, few days before 

our connnand, and found the place nearly deserted. 

Captain Hunter, with his rebel soldiers, ^yere far on 

their way to the Rio Grande, and as they had 

assured the native population — wholly iMcxican — 

that when the "Abs" — meaning the Union troo]os — 

arrived they would massacre all the men and abuse 

all the women, they stood not upon the order of 

going, but went at once for Sonora. Governor Pes- 

quira hurried forward, overtaking parties of the 

fugitives each day, and assuring them of different I 

treatment from the Union soldiers than they had 

been told by the rebels, induced many to return to 

their homes, and within a week Tucson was ag^ain 

alive; stores and gamljling saloons were numerous, 

the military had taken possession of the best ])uild- 

ings in the town for quarters, and the stars and 

stripes again waved over the Capital of the Territory 

of Arizona. 

The advance of the "Column" entered Tucson on 
the twentieth day of ^lay, 1862. Several Ameri- 
cans, among them Sylvester Mowry, formerly of 
3 



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26 FKONTIER SERVICE 

Rhode Island, returned, and being violent in their 
sympathies with the rebellion, were arrested. Some 
were sent out of the Territory, while Mowrj' was 
sent to Fort Yuma, where he remained incarcerated 
a long time. About the fifteenth of June, Captain 
N. S. Davis was relieved from the command of Com- 
pany K by Lieutenant Pettis, who remained in com- 
mand, with a short interval, until its final muster out. 
Captain Davis was on duty in the quartermaster's 
department. By the first of July, a large part of 
the " Column" had arrived at Tucson, a large depot 
of army stores had been brought from California, 
and preparations were commenced for the movement 
again of the advance column . Several spies and scouts 
had been sent forward from Tucson, but as the}^ 
had not returned, matters were rather uncertain. 
However, in tlie first week in July, Company E, 
First California Infantry, Captain Thomas L. Eoberts, 
and Company B, Second California Cavahy, were 
ordered to proceed to Apache Pass and hold posses- 
sion of the water at that point. On the twentieth 
of July the advance column left Tucson, and on the 
second day arrived at the San Pedro, twenty-five 



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DURING THE EEBELLIOX. 2t 

miles. Here a delaj of one clay was made to put 
the fording place in good order for the crossing of 
the "Cohimn." Information was received here that 
Captain Roberts' advance into the Apache Pass had 
been attacked by a large force of the Apaches, under 
the renowned chief, "Cochise," and after fighting 
durino^ an entire afternoon had succeeded in drivinfj 
the Indians, Avith a loss on our side of several of our 
men killed and wounded. ■ • ' ' 

Our next march was to Dragoon Springs, eighteen 
miles ; thence to Sulphur Springs, twenty-two miles. 
The famous Apache Pass was reached by another 
march of twenty-five miles. Here was found the 
command of Captain Roberts, with evidences of the 
struggle of a few days before. On leaving Apache 
Pass the next day, we were again the advance of the 
"Column," which position was retained until our 
arrival on the Rio Grande. The next camping 
ground was at San Simon, eighteen miles. As we 
were assured by our guides that no water would be 
found until we reached OJo de Vaca, or Cow Springs, 
a distance of sixty-seven miles, it was deemed advis- 
able to leave the overland route at this point, and 



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28 FRONTIER SERVICE | 

1. 

proceed by another route. Accordingly, the next | 

morning the command moved south, following up the | 

San Simon Valley, a distance of twelve miles, and j 

camped at the Ciencga. Here w\as found water, the \ 

best and most abundant on the whole march. Im- j 

agine, if you can, a valley twenty miles in width, on ■ 

either side a range of mountains ; and to the north J 

and south, up and down the valley, a level plain as 

far as the eye could reach. A trench three feet 

wide, by five or six in depth, filled nearly to the top 

with clear cold water, running with a velocity of at 

least six miles an hour, the bottom covered with 

white smooth pebbles. Two miles above this point 

no water was to be found. As you descended the 

valley and approached this water, you found at first 

the ground moist, then water appeared, a mere drop, 

then a small stream of running water, which increased 

I 
in volume, until you found a stream as described \ 

above. Below this point the v^ater gradually les- i 

sened, until, two miles below, this magnificent stream * \ 

had entirely disappeared. There was no shade to | 

be had here, except that found under the wagon 

bodies, still there was no fault found ; the fine stream 



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DUKING THE KEBELLION. 29 

of water that we were enjoying satisfied us for all 
other discomforts. It was v^ith feelings of regret 
that we left this point late the next afternoon, with 
well lilled canteens ; and the uncertainty of finding- 
water in advance, added to this feeling. AVe arrived 
at Leiteresdorffer's Wells soon after sunset, but no 
water was to be found. The march was continued 
during the night, and all of the next day, until we 
arrived at Soldier's Farewell, and no water. The 
command was struma out a distance of at least five 
miles ; we had been marching thirty hours, with onl}' 
a canteen each of water, with the thermometer at 
least 130. A large number of the men had given 
out and were scattered in parties of three or four, for 
a dozen miles in the rear. What vras left of the 
command moved on, and after leavins: the wa2:on 
road, we arrived in Burro Canon, some time after 
dark, where plent}^ of water was found, when, after 
taking in a fdl, turned into our blankets, entirely for- 
getting our hunger in our weariness. Company K 
marched into Burro Canon with less than ten men 
out of eighty, and it was long after daylight the next 
day before the whole command had arrived. A 



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30 FRONTIER SERVICE 

short march of twelve miles brought us to Ojo de 
Baca ; thence eighteen miles to the Miembres river. 

Our next march, twent3"-five miles, was to Cooke's 
Springs, passing tiirough Cooke's Caiion. This 
location was known hy ]\Iexican3 as La Valle del 
Muerto^ or Valley of Death. It seemed to be 
rightly named, too, as for nearly two miles were to 
be seen, on either side, skulls and other portions of 
human remains who had fallen by Indian assassina- 
tion. Mounds and crosses were met every few 
minutes. As we emerged from this triste locality, 
we encountered tlie remains of wagons and govern- 
ment stores, that had been destroyed the year before 
by the regular troops, who had deserted Forts Bu- 
chanan and Breckenridge, in Arizona. When they 
had arrived at this point, they were informed of the 
surrender of tho regulars at Fort Fillmore ; conse- 
quently, without further inquiry, they destroyed all 
the government property they had in charge, and 
made their way, on the west side of the Eio Grande, 
to Fort Craiir. 

The next march brought us near to i\Iule Springs, 
fifteen miles ; and on the next afternoon could be 



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DURING THE KEBELLIOX. 31 

discovered, in the distance, the green, "winding way 
of the Rio Grande, with the Sierras de Organos in 
the background. Camp was made that night on the 
banks of the Rio Bravo del Norte, near to old Fort 
Thorn. The next march was down the west bank of 
the river to the fording place, known as San Diego, 
which you will find set down on all maps as a town 
or village, but to my certain knowledge, up to the 
time mentioned, and for several years afterwards, 
there was but one house in the vicinity, and that 
contained but one room and no roof. As the river 
was now, the third of August, at its extreme height, 
caused by the melting' of the snow in the upper 
Rocky Mountains, we experienced some difficulty in 
getting our wagons and stores across ; still all was 
completed before sundown, and the next day we 
arrived at Roblado, near the town of Dona Ana. On 
the fifth of August, after passing through the villages 
of Dona Ana and Las Cruces, we arrived at the 
pleasant town of La Mesilla. 

Here was to be our resting place. 'We found a 
well-built village, with a numerous population, 
mostly Mexican. The rebels, who had arrived in 









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32 FRONTIER SERVICE J 

i 
the Territoiy, we learned, had, after the treacherous | 

surrender of the regular troops at Fort Fillmore j 

(directly opposite La Mesilla), marched north. They \ . 

found Fort Craig too strong to be attacked, and, j 

contrary to all military maxims, had continued on, \ 

leaving a fortified position in their rear. Tiie des- | 

perate battle of Yal Yerde had taken place on the I 

twenty-first and twenty-second of February, 1862, i 

a short distance above Fort Crai^'. And as lono- as 
I Major Benny Eol)erts had command of the Federal -. \ 

\ ili.e troops they were successful, but when General E. 1 

j . R. S. Canby came on tlie liekl and took command, | 

I the rebels soon had turned the tide of the battle in 1 

I their favor. McEae's battery was taken, and our j 

troops were returning, panic-stricken, across the | 

rivei", and lleeing towards Fort Craig, about three I 

miles down the river. The rebels then approached j 

i Albuquerque, where was stored a large amount of - \ 

I government stores, whicli were surrendered without \ 

a struggle. Thence they proceeded to Santa Fe, ! 

I where, without opposition, they took possession. \ 

\ There was one other fort to be taken, about one 

hundred miles northwest — Fort Union. After some 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 33 

delay at Santa F^, the rebels, numbering some six- 
teen hmidred, set out for Fort Union. At Apache 
Pass, or Pigeon's Panch, they were met by a Colorado 
regiment, with what regulars and militia could be 
found, all under command of Colonel John P. 
Slough (afterwards chief justice of the Territory), 
and were defeated, their wagons, ammunition, and 
all their stores having been destroyed b}^ a party of 
Union troops under Captain AY. H. Lewis, Fifth 
United States Infantry, and Captain A. B. Cary, of 
the Third United States Infantry, who scaled a 
mountain and got into their rear. The rebels pre- 
cipitately retreated from this point, to and down the 
Pio Grande, having passed La Mesilla a few weeks 
before our arrival, and left the Territor}^ with about 
twelve hundred men out of thirty-seven hundred, 
that they had arrived with. 

The different companies of the "Column," as they 
arrived, were now sent to different points in the 
department. Our Colonel, James H. Carleton, had 
been promoted to Brigadier General, and had relieved 
General E. P. S. Canby, in command of the depart- 
ment of Xew ^Mexico. The regular troops were all 



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34 FEOXTIER SERVICE 

relieved, except the Fifth Infantry, and sent east, and 
a protection was now assured to the population, by 
the California Volunteers. Lieutenant Colonel J. 
11. West was now promoted to Colonel of the regi- 
ment, and in command of the southern district of the 
department. Fine quarters were found for the com- 
mand in the village of La Mesilla, and the district 
was under martial law, Dut}^ was really pleasant 
here, — plenty of society, with frequent bailes, few 
drills, and plenty of everything to eat and drink. 
The white population were nearly all of secession 
proclivities, one in particular, Samuel L. Jones 
(better known as the pro-slavery Sheriff Jones, of 
Kansas), Avho resided here, was arrested usually 
about once a week, and incarcerated in the guard- 
house for treasonable utterances. 

After a protracted season of this dut}^, or up to 
about the twentieth of November, came the most 
unpleasant part of the histor}^ of Company K. There 
had been several escapes from the guard-house of 
persons who had been imprisoned for treasonable 
utterances, until it seemed that there might exist a 
disposition among some of the command to bo a 



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DURING THE llEBELLIOX. 35 

party to these frequent escapades. This state of 
aifairs existed until one morning an escape Vv'as 
reported to the commanding ofiicer, Colonel AVest, 
who immediately ordered the seri>-eant of the pjuard, 
with sentinels numbers one, two, three, four and five, 
wdio were on duty at the time, to be placed, in the 
guard-house, in irons. It so happened that this ser- 
geant and all the sentinels belonged to Company K, 
and at the morning drill, after guard mount, the 
company refused to do further duty, or until the 
irons were taken off of Sergeant Miller. The soldier 
most aggrieved appeared to bo Corporal Charles 
Smith, or rather he acted as spokesman for the com- 
pany. The company was immediately ordered into 
their quarters by Lieutenant Pettis, and put under 
guard, and the facts reported to the commanding 
officer. Orders were given for all prisoners to be 
placed in the guard-house ; Company K was ordered 
to proceed to the plaza or parade without arms, 
w^hen the long roll was beat. The other two com- 
panies of the garrison were soon on the plaza, fully 
equipped. Colonel West now made his appearance, 
mounted; he then marched Company A, Fifth Cali- 



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36 FROKTIEK SERVICE 

I 

fornia Infantry, about five paces in front of and fac- I 

ing Company K, -with pieces loaded, and at a "ready." i 

He then called Corporal Smith to the front, and 
asked him if he still persisted in refusing to do his ■ 

duty? The Corporal respectfully, but firmly, an- 
nounced that he would do no duty until the irons 1 
were removed from Sergeant Miller. Company D, j 
First California Infantry, had been wheeled to the J 
right out of line, and the Corporal was now ordered i 
to place himself about six paces in front of this com- j 
pany. Upon his again refusing to do duty. Captain | 
Mitchell, of Company D, was ordered to fire upon ■ 
him. This order was unhesitatingly obeyed ; and 
after the smoke had cleared away, it was seen that \ 
the Corporal was uninjured. Not so with some j 
others. The position of Company D was such that ] 
it was facing the cathedral, which is situated on the 1 
west side of the plaza; on either side of the cathe- \ 
dral were long straight streets, running from the \ 
plaza ; the long roll and the other preparations had 
called all the inhabitants from their residences, and 
the result of the first volley was to wound two invalid 
soldiers, together with one Mexican woman and one 






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DUIUXG THE EEBELLIOX. 37 

child, and the cathedral, which was built of adobes, 
was concealed for a few minutes by its own dust, 
caused by the minie balls penetrating its front. 
The Corporal was again questioned ])y Colonel West, 
who returned his former ansAver, and Company D 
again fired a volle}^ bat the Corporal remained un- 
touched. After another questioning by the Colonel, 
Company D was once more ordered to fire, when, 
between the commands "aim," ''fire," Colonel West 
rode up behind the company with uplifted sabre, and 
gave the command to " lower those rifies," when the 
command was given by the Captain to "fire." At 
this discharge, the Corporal fell to the ground, a 
minie ball having passed directly through him, hav- 
ing entered his right breast. He was immediately 
placed upon a stretcher, and expired on his way to 
the hospital. The rest of the company was now 
questioned by Colonel West, and each man asserted 
his willingness to do his duty, when the command 
was dismissed to their quarters, and Company K 
immediately assumed their arms and accoutrements 
and appeared upon the plaza for drill. This was 
4 









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38 FEONTIER SERA^CE 

the only evidence of insubordination ever shown in 
the " Column," and the prompt manner in which this 
one was met and punished, precluded any danger of 
another exhibition of this character. 

A few days after these occurrences, some of our 
spies and scouts brouglit in the intelligence that 
another large party of rebels had left San Antonio, 
Texas, for New Mexico. Accordingly, Companies 
K and D were ordered to San Elizario, Texas, a 
town about twenty-five miles below El Paso, Mexico, 
and the last point of civilization towards San 
Antonio, on outpost duty. After remaining here 
about six weeks, and no rel)els appearing, Company 
K was ordered to Fort Craig. A march of twenty- 
five miles brought us to Franklin or Fort Bliss, 
directly opposite El Paso ; thence two marches, 
aggregating fifty miles, found us in our old quarters 
at La jNIesilla, where the company was ordered to 
remain until the adjournment of a general court- 
martial which was then in session at that post. A 
week later, and Compan}' K commenced its march 
for Fort Craig. A short inarch brought us again to 
Dona Ana. Three miles from that villaire brou^i-ht 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 39 

US to the commencement of the much dreaded 
Jornada del 3Iuerto (Journey of Death). Tlie 
Jornada is a large desert, well supplied with fine 
gramma grass in some portioiis, ])ut absolutely desti- 
tue of water or shade for seventy-five miles. Why 
it ever received its title, I never distinctly' learned, 
but suppose it was on account of the very numerous 
massacres committed on it by the Apache Indians. 
On the east, in the far distance, are the Sierras 
Blancos, and is fringed on the west b}^ the Sierra 
Caballo and Sierra de Frey Cristol^al. From these 
heights, on either side, the Indians are enabled to dis- 
tinctly perceive any party of travellers coming over 
the wide and unsheUered expanse of the Jornada 
del Muerto. When any such parties are seen, they 
come sweeping down upon the unsuspecting immi- 
grant in more than usual num])ers, and if successful, 
as the}' generally are, in their attack, invariably' 
destroy all of the party, for there is no possible 
chance of escape ; and the xVpaches never take any 
prisoners but women and young children, and they 
become captives for life. 

The first camp was a dry one, and as the com- 






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40 FRONTIER SERVICE 

niand was accompanied by a tank of water, drawn 
by six mules, thus being prepared by a plentiful 
suppl}^ of water, I concluded to cross this desert at 
my leisure. The next forenoon we passed by the 
celebrated "Point of Rocks," the compan}' being- 
deployed as skirmishers, with the hope of finding 
Indians hidino" between the hu^e boulders of which 
it was composed, but without results. Late in the 
afternoon we arrived at the Aleman, so called from 
the f\ict that a whole Gcrinan immigrant family had 
been massacred at this point some years before by 
the Indians. The next night another dr}^ camp, 
having passed during the day the Lar/iina del Muerto, 
where water is found in some seasons. While some 
three miles on our left was the Ojo (M Muerto, a 
point where Fort McRae was established in 1863 by 
Captain Henry A. Greene, commanding Compan}^ 
G, First California Infantry, now a resident of this 
city, (Providence, R. I.) The next day's march 
brought us to the little viHage of El Paraje del Fra 
Cristobal. Xear the spot on which the camp w^as 
made,- ^vas the peaceful flowing and muddy Rio 
Grande. A short march of live miles brou<]!:ht us to 



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DUEING THE REBELLION. 41 

our destination — Fort Craig. Our arrival was in 
January, 1863. 

The company remained at this post during the 

year 1863, monotony of garrison life being relieved 

b}^ furnishing escorts to wagon trains bound north 

and south, and an occasional scout after Indians. In 

July of that year, Assistant Surgeon "Watson, who 

had been commissioned at Sacramento, California, 

more than a year before, and had been ordered to 

report to the headquarters of his regiment at Fort 

Craig, arrived at Fort Mcltae, without accident. On 

leaving that post. Captain Greene had furnished him 

with one o-overnment waa^on and an escort of five or 

six men of his company. They set out with joyful 

anticipation ; the Doctor was delighted to know that 

after a year's travel, he would soon be at his new 

home, and be doing duty with his own regiment, 

which he had never seen. The wagon, with its occu- 

. pants, soon emerged fi'om tlie caiion of the Ojo del 

I JMiicrtOy and came out on the hard, smooth, natural 

j road of the Jornada. About the middle of the after- 

f noon, they were proceeding leisurely along ; twelve 

I miles in advance could be plainly seen the buildings 

I 



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42 FRONTIER SERVICE 

of Fort Craig, vrith " Old Glory " on the flag-staff. 
The driver of the team, Johnson, a soldier of Greene's 
company, sat on his near wheel-mule chatting pleas- 
antly with the Doctor, who occupied the front of the 
waaon, with his feet hano-ino: down on the ^vhillie- 
trees ; the escort were all in the w^agon, lying on 
their blankets, with their arms and equipments 
beneath them. Within five miles of "them there was 
not a rock, tree, shrub, or bush, as large as a man's 
head — they felt a perfect securit}'. Another mo- 
ment, how changed ! There arose from the sand of 
the desert, Avhere they had buried themselves, some 
ten or twelve Apaches, within twenty feet of the 
moving wagon, and poured a volley of arrows into 
the doomed part}', and closing in immediately, a 
part attacked tlie occupants of the wagon, while the 
rest disengaged tlie mules, and mounting their backs 
started for the mountains on the west, towards the 
river, and before the soldiers were out of the wagon 
were out of reach of their fire. Doctor AVatson was 
shot with two arrows, one in his right arm, and the 
other on the inside of his ri^ht thi^h, severincc the 
femoral artery. He breathed his last in a few min- 






ii 












DUKIXG THE REBELLION. 43 

utes ; the driver was shot through the heart, and one 
or two of the escorts were sli^'htly wounded. Kews 
of this affair reached the post before sunset, and in 
twenty rninates Company K was on its way down 
the west side of the river to intercept, if possible, 
these murderers. The company was kept in the 
field for thirty days, without other result than to find 
a hot trail of eighty-two Xavajoes, who were on their 
way to their o\vn country, with some eight thousand 
head of sheep and other stock that they had stolen 
in the upper counties of Xew Mexico. As the com- 
pany were dismounted, it was impossible to take up 
the trail. The commander of the compan}^ ho^v- 
ever, with five cavalrymen and two Mexican scouts, 
followed and overtook the Indians after a run of 
twenty-five miles, but accomplished nothing except 
exchanging some twenty or twenty-five shots on 
either side, as our animals were completely " blown," 
and eighty-two to eight Avas an unpleasant disparity 
of numhers. The lieutenant and his men arrived 
back at the river the next morning, having been in 
the saddle nearly twenty-four hours. The result of 
the short skirmish was that one of the cavalrymen's 



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44 FEOXTIER SERVICE 

horses was shot through the breast, and one Navajo 
was sent to his happy hunting-grounds and one was 
wounded. 

January, 18 64, Company K was ordered to Los ' 

Pinos, about one hundred miles further up the liio 
Grande, and about twenty miles south of Albuquer- 
que ; marching through the towns of Socoreo, La 
Limitar, acrosrs the sand hills at the foot of the Sierra 
de Jos JjCidroncs, or Thieves Mouiitains ; crossing 
the Rio Puerco, near its aflluence with the Rio | 

Grande ; thence to Sabinal, La Belen, and Los Lunes. 
They remained here until the first of February, when 
Colonel Kit Carson arrived there from the Xavajo 
country , with some two hundred and tift^'-three Xavajo 
Indians, whom he had taken prisoners in his opera- 
tions ao-ainst that nation. Orders were received I 
from department headquarters for Compan}^ K to I 
proceed with these Indians to the Bosque Redonde, 
some two hundred and fifty miles down on the Pecos 
river. Accordimrh', after formallv receivins: these 
prisoners and receipting therefor, the command 
moved out, and on the second night arrived at Carn- 
well Cauon ; thence to San Antonio, San Antoinette, 



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DURING THE REBELLIOX. 45 

Los Placeres and Gallisteo. Thus far the commaud 
had moved across the country, hut on the day of leav- 
ing Gallisteo, the company struck the military road 
leading from Fort Union to Santa Fi^, near the old 
Feces ruins. The command moved alone; this road 
to the village of Tecolote ; from here tlicy proceeded 
down the Pecos river, and arrived at Fort Sumner 
after eighteen days' marching. Fort Sumner was a 
new post, cstahlished for the purpose of a reserva- 
1 tion for Indians, hoth Xavajo and Apache, that 

should be taken prisoners by the troops, and Col- 
onel Carson vras on a campaign against the Xavajos, 
in which he was successful, as there were linally 
some eight thousand of these Indians captured and 
placed on this reservation. Those brought in by 
Compan}' K were the first large bod}^ that had 
arrived. I will saj^ here, in parenthesis, that this is 
the only way to treat the Indian question ; for this 
! Indian nation (the Navajoes), after receiving a 

severe drubbing by Carson, and all had surrendered, 
I were finally allowed to return to their own country, 

i since which time they have continued on the best of 

I terms with our people. This has always been the 



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46 FROXTIEli SEKVICE 

experience on the frontiers — one effective campaign 
is better than all the treaties that were ever consum- 
mated. 

Fort Sumner was at this time in command of 
Major Henry D. AYallen, United States Seventh 
Infantry, than whom there was no more excellent 
ofcntleman in the service of the o-overnment. His 
administration was marked by a sincere desire to do 
justice to all under him, a feature that was sadly 
deficient in too many officers of the time that is 
spoken of. He was a perfect example of sobriety, 
and his case certainly was a commendation of the 
excellence of education of the acadcni}^ at West 
Point, of which he was an honored graduate. 

Company K had been at Fort Sumner but a few 
days when it was ordered to report to the com- 
manding officer at Fort Union, necessitating a march 
of one hundred and twenty-live miles. The com- 
mand arrived at Fort Union on the eighteenth day of 
March, 18G4, and remained there, doing camp duty, 
during the months of April, ]May and June. In 
July, the company proceeded, with a company of 
Kew Mexican cavahy, towards the east, b}^ the 



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DUniNG THE REBELLION. 47 

route known as the Cummarron route, passing on 
our way, Bargwin's Spring, named after the gallant 
Captain Burgwin, First Kegiment United States 
Dragoons, who fell while leading the attack upon the 
insurgents at Taos, 1847, and the Wagon jNIound, a 
high landmark (so called from its shape). From 
this point to the "Point of Rocks," fort}'' miles, is 
the track of a blood}^ brave and disastrous fight 
made by eight passengers in the stnge against a band 
of sixty Apaches. They fought every inch of the 
long, dread struggle. Killed one by one, and 
dropped on the road, two survivors maintained their 
defense a long time, and wheu the sole contestant 
was left, his last dying effort was to strew the con- 
tents of his powder-horn in the sand, and stir it in 
with his foot, so that the Indians could not use it. 
Wilson's Creek, some miles further on, is named 
after a ^Ir. Wilson, a merchant of Santa F6, who 
was overtaken here by the Indians, and, with his 
wife and child — for he was alone with them — 
butchered with the usual savage outrage and cruelty. 
The command returned to Fort Union in Se[)tem- 
ber, in which month the First Infantry, California 



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48 I-RONTIEIl SERVICE 

Volunteers, was mustered out of service, their term 
of three years having expired, with the exception of 
Company K, it being recollected that they Avere en- 
listed at San Francisco some time after the other 
companies had heen formed. However, the mem- 
bers of tliat company began, in October, to bo 
dropped out, and when orders arrived at Fort Union 
for the formation of the Commanche expedition, 
under Colonel Kit Carson, there remained of the 
First Infantry Eegiment, California Yolunteers, one 
officer (Lieutenant Pettis) and twenty-six enlisted 
men of Company K. This compan}^ accompanied 
Carson's expedition Avith two mountain howitzers, 
mounted on prairie carriages, and rendezvoued at 
Fort Bascom, on the Canadian river, near the line of 
Texas. This expedition consisted as follows : Col- 
onel Christopher Carson, First New ^Mexico Cavalry, 
commanding; Colonel Francisco P. Abreu, First 
New I^Iexico Infantry ; I\Iajor William McCleave, 
First California Cavalry ; Captain Fmil Fritz, Com- 
pany B, First California Cavalry, one officer and 
forty enlisted men ; Lieutenant Sullivan Heath, 
Company K, First California Cavalry, one officer and 






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DUKING THE KEBELLION. 49 ! 

I 
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forty men; Captain Meriam, Company M, First 
California Cavalry, one officer and tbirtj^-four men ; 
Lieutenant George H. Pettis, Company K, First 
California Infantry, one officer and twenty-six men ; 
Captain Charles Dens, Company M, First New 
Mexico Cavalry, two officers and seventy men ; Cap- 
tain Joseph Berney, Company D, First New Mexico 
Cavalry, two officers and thirty-six men ; Company 
A, First California Veteran Infantry, seventy-iive 
men ; Assistant Surgeon George S. Conrtright, 
United States Volunteers, and an officer ^vhose name 
escapes me, as Assistant Quartermaster and Com- 
missary, — numbering in all, fourteen officers and 
three hundred and twenty-one enlisted men. In 
addition to the command. Colonel Carson had induced 
seventy-two friendly Indians (Utes and Apaches) , and 
as big scoundrels as there were on the frontiers, by 
promising them all the plunder that they might 
acquire, to join the expedition. 

On the sixth of November, the connnand left Fort 
Bascom, and proceeded down on the north bank of 
the Canadian, hoping to lind the Commanche and 
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50 FRONTIER SERVICE 

Kiowa Indians (who had been committing their 
atrocities during the whole of 18G4) in their winter 
quarters. The Indians with our command, on every 
night, after making camp, 1)cing now on the war- 
path, indulged in the accustomed vrar dance, which, 
althougli new to most of us, became almost intoler- 
able, it being kept up each night until nearly day- 
break ; and until we became accustomed to their 
groans and bowlings, incident to the dance, it was 
impossiljle to sleep. Each morning of our march, 
two of our Indians would be sent ahead several hours 
])efore we started, who would return to camp at night 
and report. 

We had been on our march day after day without 
particular incident until our arrival at iNIule Creek, 
'svhcn our scouts brought in the intelligence tliat they 
had seen signs of a large body of Indians that had 
moved that day, and that they could be overtaken 
without much ellbrt. Immediately after supper, all 
of the Cavalry, with Company K, moved out of camp 
in light marching order, leaving the infantry, under 
command of Colonel Abreu, to protect the wagon 
train and proceed on our trail on the morrow. Col- 



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DURING THE KEBELLION. 51 

onel Carson and command marched all night, except 
a short halt just before dawn, and struck an outpost 
of the enemy on the opposite side of the river, at 
about sunrise, who being mounted retreated, followed 
by our Indians and two companies of our Cavalry. 
The rest of the command moved down on the north 
side of the river, and a few miles below the cavalry 
struck a Kiowa rancheria of one hundred and seventy- 
six lodges, the Indians retreating down the river on 
I their approach. Company K, escorted by Lieuten- 

ant Heath's command, and accompanied by Colonel 
Carson, could not advance with the rapidity of the 
cavalry, as the cannoneers were dismounted, and the 
wheels tracking very narrow, caused the utmost 
attention to prevent their being overturned. The 
Indians from the Kiowa encampment retreated until 
they were reinforced by a large force of Commanches 
from a Conmianche ranclicria of five hundred lodges, 
a short distance below the "Adobe Walls," a location 
well known by all frontiersmen. The cavalry made 
a stand here, and were engaged in skirmishing with 
the enemy, when Company K came on the field with 
the two mountain howitzers. An order from Colonel 


















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52 FKOXTIEU SEllYICE 

Carson to Lieutenant Pettis to " fling a few shell 
overthar!" indicating witli his hand a large body 
of Indians who appeared to Ije about to charge into 
our forces, that officer immediately ordered "Battery 
halt ! action right, load with sJiell — load ! " Before 
the fourth discharge of the howitzers, the Indians 
had retreated out of range, and it was supposed that 
there would be no more fighting ; but we counted 
without our iiost, for our animals had scarcely been 
watered when the enemy returned to the conflict. 
The horses of the cavalry were again placed in the 
*'Adobe AYalls," wliich were elevated enough to pro- 
tect them from the rifle balls of the enemy, and the 
fight was soon at its height. 

About the middle of the afternoon, Carson con- 
cluded to return to the Kiowa village that we had 
passed through in the morning, contrary to the 
wishes of his oflicers, who were anxious to advance 
to the Commanche village, which was less than a 
mile in our front. The return column consisted of 
the cavalry horses, the number four of each set of 
fours leading the other three horses, with the howit- I 

zers in the rear, the dismounted cavalry acting as i 



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DURING THE REBELLION. 53 j 

skirmishers on the front, rear and cither flank. The 
firing was continued from each side until the village 
was reached, when our troops proceeded to destroy 
it, which was cilcctually done before dark. 

A further march of about four miles, and the 
wagon train was reached, the safety of which had 
been the subject of much anxietj^ during the day. 
The gun carriages and ammunition carts of Company 
K were packed with the wounded on their return 
from the Kiowa village. A rest was had the next 
day, which was sadl}' needed, as the whole command 
had been marching and fighting about twenty-seven 
hours, on a few broken hard tack and a slice of salt 
pork each. The second day after the fight, Carson 
concluded to return to Fort Bascom, which post was j 

reached in twenty-one days. Here the conimand | 

remained until orders were received from General \ 

Carleton, commanding the department, and Company \ 

K was ordered to Fort Union, as the term of service \ 

of nearly all the men had expired. By the first of i 

February, 18G5, all the enlisted nien of the company 
htid been mustered out of service, and Lieutenant 
Pettis, the last man of his regiment, was ordered to 



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54 FRONTIER SERVICE ] 

\ 

report to the mustering officer at Santa ¥6y with all \ 

the records of his company ; and on the fifteenth of j 

February, he was mustered out of service, and Com- ] 

pany K, First Infantry, California Volunteers, had I 

ceased to exist, having marched on foot during its j 

term of service four thousand two hundred and forty- | 

five miles. I 






4;:' 



PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IN THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BEIXG PAPEIIS READ BEFORE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 15. 



rrvOYiDENCE: 

PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETT. 

1885. 



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rKOVIDENCE PRESS COMPANY, PRINTERS. 



EEMINISCENCES OF SERYICE 



•WITH THE 



TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS. 



MEMORIAL OF COL. GEORGE H. BROWNE, 



BY 

PARDON E. TILLINGIIAST, 

[Late Quartermaster Sergeant of the Twelfth Rhode Island V^oluateers.J 



PROVIDENCE; 
PUBLISnED BY THE SOCIETY. 

1885. 



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REMINISCENCES OF SERVICE 



WITH THE 



TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS, 



The months of July, August, September aud 
October of 1862, were stirring times in Rhode 
Island, — and in fact throughout the entire North. 
The vigorous onward movement of our army to- 
wards Richmond, which had been long and fre- 
quently promised, was still deferred. The decisive 
victory won by the Union forces over Lee's army 
Jit Malvern Hills at great cost, which, in the judg- 
ment of every officer in the Army of the Potomac 
save one, and he the chief, should have been imme- 
diately followed by a determined advance towards 
the rebel stronghold, which was only about a day's 
march distant, was supplemented by the now some- 
Tv^hat stereotyped order to "foil back," thus pre- 
senting the not altogether inspiring military spec- 



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6 SERVICE WITH THE 

tacle of a victorious army running away from its 
defeated and thoroughly demoralized enemy. 

General Pope's campaign in Northern Virginia, 
inaugurated with a great flourish of trumpets, had 
resulted disastrously ; the rebel army was greatl}^ 
encouraged by the inactivity and the vacillating con- 
duct of their opponents, and had commenced a vigor- 
ous aggressive movement. The National capital was 
again in imminent peril, causing a feverish excite- 
ment throughout the countr}^ ; Baltimore and Cin- 
cinnati were seriously threatened, and a great crisis 
was evidently at hand. Vigorous measures must be 
adopted at once, or our boasted Eepublic would 
soon be a thing of the past. 

The President, in view of the great emergency, 
had ordered drafts, amounting in the aggregate to 
six hundred thousand men, one-half thereof for three 
years, and the other half for nine months, the latter 
to be drawn from the enrolled militia ; and the 
utmost activity everywhere prevailed in connection" 
with the mising, equipping and forwarding of this 
vast army of recruits. 



Ehode Island was thoroughly alive to the occasion, ^A 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 



determined not to be outdone bj any of her sister 
States in meeting this new and pressing demand 
upon her loyalty and her resources ; and meeting it 
too, if possible, without resort to a draft, which, of 
course, was obnoxious to the sentiments of the peo- 
ple. In order to promote enlistments, the stores in 
some places were closed at 3 r. m. each day; war 
meetings were held every evening, and the greatest 
enthusiasm was manifested. The whole State seemed 

I to be one vast recruiting camp, and all the people, 

both male and female, to be engaged in the business. 
For it should ever be remembered, to the praise of 
the women of Khode Island, that they were fully as 
loyal and as devoted to our country's cause during 
the rebellion, as were the men ; and that in very 

J many cases they suffered and sacrificed quite as much 

at home, though in ditierent ways, as did their hus- 
• bands and sons and brothers in the field. 

In such a state of public feeling what could I, a 
young unmarried man, do consistent with a fair 
amount of self-respect but enlist ? Evidently noth- 
ing ; and so I left the teacher's desk and enlisted as a 

4* . private in Company C, Eleventh Rhode Island Vol- 



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b SERVICE WITH THE 

unteers, under Captain Charles W. Thrasher. I 
was detailed for service in the quartermaster's de- 
partment under Lieutenant John L. Clark, and 
shortly after was transferred with him (I never 
knew why) to the Twelfth, and was appointed b}' 
Colonel Browne to the ofSce of Quartermaster Ser- 
geant. 

Camp Stevens, in Providence, was a lively place 
during the latter part of September and the first 
part of October, 1862. The Eleventh and Twelfth 
regiments were both encamped there together during 
a part of this time, preparatory to their departure 
for the scat of war. The former left on Monday, 
October sixth, and the latter on Tuesday, October 
twenty-first. 

The Twelfth Regiment was composed mainly of 
good Ehode Island material, and was officered by 
intelligent, patriotic and brave-hearted men. There 
were representatives from nearly all of the ordinary 
■walks and callings of life, thus furnishing the com- 
.mand with facilities for almost any emergency; and 
it was proverbial that whatever could be done by 
-anybody could be done by some one in this regi- 









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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. \) 

nient. The officers and the privates were well dis- 
posed towards each other ; there was a prevalent 
spirit of prompt obedience to orders ; and in general 

^ a manifest disposition on the part of all to make 

themselves useful and serviceable both to the Gov- 
ernment and to each otlier. 

A journey of seventy-seven hours from Provi- 
dence, partly by rail, partly by water, and partly on 
foot, brought this newly-formed regiment to Camp 
-^ Chase, which was situated across the Potomac from 

Washington, in the neighborhood of Arlington 
Heights. The work of pitching our tents was at 
once commenced and rapidly pushed forward. But 
before it was completed, a violent storm of wind and 
rain broke upon us which continued for nearly two 

^ i days without intermission. And such a storm ! I 

think I never saw^ the like before or since. It did 
not simply rain, but it came down in great broad 
sheets of water; it poured; it came in great gusts. 
And then the wind — it whirled, it roared, it got 
upon its giant legs, and fairly howled with rage as 
the weary hours of that first night in camp wore 
away. 



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10 SERVICE WITH THE 

And such a sony sight as that camp presented the 
:next morning was not calculated to promote one's 
: military enthusiasm, to. say the least. Man}^ of the 
tents, all of which had been hastily erected, had 
been blown down during the night, and the drenched 
and shivering inmates were wandering about in 
search of shelter or assistance in again erecting their 
uncertain habitations. Baggage and camp equipage 
were scattered in all directions, and confusion held 
high carnival generally. As if this were not enough 
for beginners, we were also treated to our first install- 
ment of Virginia mud, which covered the entire sur- 
face of the ground to a depth of two or three inches. 
Xo description of this unique article, however, is 
-necessary here. It is perhaps needless to say that 
•our first impressions of a soldier's life in the " Sunny 
South" were not altogether favorable. 

But this storm, like all others, came to an end, 
Tind the bright, warm sunshine, together with the 
diligence of many busy hands, soon repaired most 
•of the damao'e ; so that the rei2;iment was able to 
-appear on brigade review^ in gallant style, on Tues- 
'day, the tw^enty-eighth of October, the fourth day 



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TAVELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 11 

after our arrival, before the venerable General Casey, 
iu whose division it had been brigaded. 

One week was the length of our stay at Camp 
Chase, at the end of which brief pei'iod wo folded our 
tents and made a "Sabbath day's journey," although 
somewhat longer than tliat permitted by the Jewish 
economy on that sacred day, to Fairfax Seminary. 
(I may remark in passing that perhaps not the most 
scrupulous regard was had by most of the command- 
ers who conducted the operations of our armies, 
either to the Jewish or Christian economy concern- 
ing the Sabbath day) . This proved to be a cliarming ■ 
location, indeed. The land was high, overlooking 
the broad Potomac for a long distance; the city of 
Alexandria, situated two miles to the south, was in 

full view, while in the distance on our left was the i 

magnificent dome of the capitol at '^Vashington. The ' I 

land sloped in a broad, undulating sweep towards 

the Potomac in front of us ; the large and dignified , i^ 

brick buildings of Fairfax Seminary, then used as a j 

hospital, were situated just to the north, in the rear, \ 

surrounded ])y a stately grove of trees (which, sad \ 

to say, speedily succumbed to the soldier's axe) ; } 

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12 SERVICE WITH THE 

several fine country residences were scattered about 

in the immediate vicinity, evidently the recent homes 

of affluence and luxurj'-, hut now a1)andoned to the 

tender mercies of strangers in arms, being used 

mainly hy general and field officers, with their staffs, 

for headquarters. And although their owners were 

rebels fis^htimr a^'ainst the Government, 1 must, 

nevertheless, confess to a strong feeling of sympath}^ 

which I then had for them, and thousands like them, 

in the untold and untellable distress, privation and 

suffering which they and their families must have | 

experienced in being driven as exiles from their * 1 

homes and firesides, their property appropriated to ! 

the use of their enemies, and what they, in the main, ] 

honestly considered their inalienalde rights, taken 1 

from them. But such is and will continue to be the ^j 

fate of war. ■ ^ -^ > i 

1 
Regiments of soldiers were on every side of us. ' 

A few rods in front was the Fifteenth Connecticut, 

Colonel ^Vright ; in the rear was the Thirteenth 

New Hampshire, Colonel Stevens ; on the right the 

Twenty-seventh Xew Jersey, Colonel ]\Iindil ; and 

on the left a stalwart regiment of "six footers '' from 






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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 13 

Maine ; while for a imle or more in all directions 
little else was visible but camps of soldiers. Truly 
this was a "tented field." Everything about our 
new camp, which was named Camp Casey, was soon 
put in the best of order, cleanliness and good order 
being prime virtues with Colonel Browne, and always 

being strenuously insisted on. \ 

Our compan}^ was detailed each da}^ at first for * 

picket duty on the long line at the front near Cloud's ; 

Mills, which was about five miles distant ; but sub- 
sequently the entire regiment performed this dut}^ 
for twenty-four hours at a time, alternating with the 
other reo-imcnts of the briij-ade. The regiment Avas 
diligently perfecting itself in the manual of arms, 

and a military air and bearing were everywhere ap- | 

parent. We had now commenced soldiering in good 
earnest. My principal duties, under the direction 

of the quartermaster, were to sec that the commis- | 

sary department was kept constantly supplied with 1 

everything in the way of subsistence which the army 1 

regulations allowed. AVashington and Alexandria \ 

were the great reservoirs of these supplies, and to i 



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14 SERVICE WITH THE 

one or the other of these phices I went three or four 

times a week, accompanied by two or more four 

mule teams, with which to haul the stores to camp. 

The great army bakery was in the basement of the 

capitol building, whither we went for our su[)ply 

i of bread. And I think I do not exaggerate hy any- 

I ing that I have seen a line of army wagons half a 

j mile or more in length, each awaiting its turn to be 

filled with the nice brown loaves. I need hardly 

say that after leaving the vicinit}" of Washington we 

bade an enforced good-b3^e to soft bread. 

On one of my journeys to Alexandria, after get- 
ting my teams loaded with rations, I took a stroll 
about the somewhat antiquated city, visiting places 
of interest, amongst which Avas the Marshall House, 
where the brave Colonel Ellsworth met his terri1)le 
fate, and from which house the entire banisters of 
the stairs which he ascended in going to the roof to 
haul down a rebel Hag, had been carried away piece- 
meal by visitors, as mementoes of the tragic event. 
Other parts of the building had also been sadl}^ muti- 
lated for the same purpose. But the stars and stripes 
had permanently supplanted the rebel Hag hauled 



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TWELFTH ERODE ISLAND. 15 

down bj the lamented Ellsworth, and were proudly 
floating from that now historic building. 

I also visited another place of interest, but with 
what different feelings I will not attempt to relate. 
It was a large block which bore the following promi- 
nent sign: ''Pkice, Birch & Co., Dealers in 
Slaves." Connected with it was a huge pen to hold 
the slaves, and an auction block from which thou- 
sands doubtless had been bought and sold. But for 
this establishment and what it represented, neither 
the tras^ic scene at the oNIarshall House nor the ^i^^an- 
tic military operations then going on from one end 
of the country to the other,- would ever have been 
witnessed. 

I was also mail-carrier for the regiment to and 
from, the post office in Alexandria, and was alwa3's 
cheerfully received on m}^ return with a heavy mail ; 
for amongst the chief delights of a soldier was a let- 
ter from home. As ther/j was no salary attached to 
this branch of the mail service I was not accused of 
oflensive partisanship, but permitted to hold the office 
to the end of my term of enlistment. 

Xovember 27, 1862, was recognized by us as 



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16 SERVICE WITH THE 

ThanksgiviDg day, although the turkey, without 
■which no Yankee can properly observe the day, was 
conspicuous only by its absence. The usual amuse- 
ments of the occasion, however, including a sack race 
between two men, each enveloped in a bed-sack 
drawn up and tied under his chin, were engaged in 
and greatlj^ enjoyed. The governor's proclamation 
was read by Chaplain Field, and appropriate religious 
services were conducted by him in front of headquar- 
ters. 

As it had been currently rumored for some time 
that Camp Casey was to be our winter quarters, the 
boys had taken great pains to make their habitations 
as snug and cosy as possible for the rapidly approach- 
ing cold weather. The non-commissioned stafl', of 
which I was a member, appropriated to their use a 
roofless negro hut in the rear of the stately old man- 
sion house which was occupied by the colonel and 
staif for headquarters, and b}' using the fly of a large 
tent for a roof, and otherwise improving it, we con- 
verted it into very comfortable quarters, anticipating 
quite a jolly time therein during the winter. The 
mess consisted of Sergeant Major Daniel 11. Ballou, 






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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 17 

subsequently promoted to the office of lieutenant for 
bravery at the battle of Fredericksburg ; Commis- 
sary Sergeant Amasa F. Eddy ; Quartermaster's 
Clerk Erastus Richardson ; the Quartermaster Ser- 
geant, and William, the colored 1)03\ 

But alas for all plans which have no firmer base 
than rumors in the army. For the regiment had no 
more than fully settled down to housekeeping for the 
winter, when, on Sunday, November thirtieth, orders 
were received that Colonel Wright's ])rigade, of 
which the Twelfth^lhode Island was a part, would 
move to the front the next day at twelve o'clock. 
As to their destination, no one knew save Colonel 
Browne, if indeed he did, and, as a matter of course, 
speculations and conjectures of all sorts were freely 
indulged in. "Shelter tents" were issued at once, 
the men were ordered to provide themselves with 
three days' cooked rations and have everything in 
readiness to move promptly at the appointed time. 
Truly, " there was hurrvin2: to and fro, and ixatherins: 
in hot haste," each one busily making ready for his 
unknown journey. There was but ver}' little grum- 
bling about leaving our nicely arranged camp and 



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18 



SERVICE WITH THE 



beautiful situation, although we had but very recently 
received what seemed to be almost a positive promise 
that these should be our winter quarters. 

The bao'o-afxe was reduced to the lowest marchino- 
standard, and the men ordei'cd to take nothing in 
their knapsacks except what they actually needed. 
The consequence was that a large portion of their 
"traps" had to be left behind, and judging from the 
number of officers' trunks which I shipped to Ehode 
Island after the regiment left, I doubt not that more 
dress uniforms adorned the wardrobes at home than 
their owners in the field. Such thinsfs look exceed- 
ingly nice on dress parade or review, but they are 
not altogether useful on a forced march or in a fight. 

The hour of departure having arrived, the com- 
panies marched from their several streets, the regi- 
mental line was formed, and all was in readiness for 
a move. I must confess to an almost overwhelming 
feeling of loneliness as I saw the long soldierly col- 
umn moving ofi*, led by the splendid Ijand of the 
Thirteenth Xew Hampshire, for amongst other things 
I thought it quite probable that before I should again 
see them, their ranks might be thinned by the terrible 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 19 

shock of battle. And so, alas ! they were. But 
having received orders from the colonel to remain in 
charge of the camp, which remained as before, except 
that its occupants were gone, the tents being all left 
standing, I had no alternative but to obey. About 
seventy men were left in the camp, all of whom, 
with the exception of the quartermaster's clerk and 
m^'Self, were on the sick list. Truly this was " a 
sick house with no doctor,'' for the surgeon and each 
of his assistants had <]::one forward with the re<T:iment. 
We were cheered, however, just at evening by the 
return of our kind-hearted assistant surgeon, Doctor 
Prosper K. Hutchinson, now long since gone to his 
reward, who was sent back to remain with the sick 
ones until they should be able to join their comrades. 
The clerk and m3^self now appropriated the colonel's 
somewhat luxurious quarters to our use, and as Ave 
had plent}^ of provisions and a good cook, there was 
no occasion for us to complain of our fate. 

The fourth day after the regiment left, Avinter set 
in in good earnest. Snow fell to the depth of sev- 
eral inches, and the Aveather Avas bitterly cold and 
severe. I contrasted my comfortable quarters, as I 



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20 SERVICE WITH THE 

sat by a blazing wood lire at night, with those of my 
comrades huddled in shelter tents and shiverinij: from 
cold, somewhere on their tedious march to the front, 
and heartily pitied, while I could not alleviate, their 
condition. With the aid of some of the convales- 
cents I struck the tents, turned over the camp stores 
and equipage, except a small part which was to go 
forward to the quartermaster's department in Wash- 
ington, settled my accounts with the Government, 
and, through the kindness of the quartermaster of 
the One Hundred and Eleventh Xew York, who 
loaned me the use of his teams, hauled the balance 
of the baggage to Alexandria, placed it on board a 
boat for Acquia Creek, and on the seventeenth of 
December took leave of Camp Casey, and with thir- 
teen men went forward to join m3^ regiment. It was 
found encamped near General Sumner's headquarters 
on the heights opposite Fredericksburg, wdiich place 
I learned it reached after a week's march from Camp 
Casey, travelling upwards of sixty miles — part of 
the time through tlie mud, and part thereof through 
the snow and over the frozen £]:round. My friend, 
Captain Lapham, who experienced the hardships of 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. . ^^ | 

J 

this never-to-be-forgotleii march, has already vividly I 

described it to 3^ou in his admirable paper on the j 

TAvelfth Rhode Island. T 

The terrible battle of Fredericksburg liad been ■' 

fought three days before my arrival at Falmouth, 
and I knew of it only from others and from the feai»- 

ful havoc which it had made in the ranks of my com- ) 

rades, upwards of one-iifth of the entire regiment 
having been either killed, wounded, or found missing 
at the close of that sanguinary contest. The part 
taken by the gallant T^velfth has also been graphi- 
cally portrayed in the paper just referred to, by one 
who took an honorable part therein, and it would be 
presumption in me to attempt a word in addition. 

The great Army of the Potomac, now upwards of 
one hundred thousand strong, was stretched along 
the eastern bank of the Eappahannock from Fal- 
mouth soutlnvard to, and including. General Frank- 
lin's division, and for miles there was but little space 
between the regimental camps of this mighty host. 
Our picket line was on the left ])ank of the river, 
while that of the enemy was on the right in plain 
sight, and for the most part the two lines were within 



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22 , servicp: with the 

reach of each other's rifles. Bat there was little 
firing done, it seeming to be tacitly understood that 
their principal business was to mutually watch, in- 
stead of shoot, each other. Anxious to see how 
rebels in arms looked, 1 rode the length of our picket 
line and inspected them as best I could, from this 
tolerably safe distance, and became satisfied that a 
nearer approach was undesirable. 

Our base of supplies was Acquia Creek, about fif- 
teen miles in our rear, towards Washington, and 
thither I had to frequently go for our subsistence. 
The trains to this place were daily laden with the 
sick and wounded on their way to the great hospitals 
in and around "Washino-ton. And some of the sights 
that I saw in connection with the removal of our poor, 
maimed, sick and dying soldiers, shortly after the 
terrible battle, would be too painful to relate. I do 
not mean that they were not as well treated and as 
kindlj' cared for as was practicable under the circum- 
stances, but that from their great numbers, the 
inadequate means for handling them, and the dis- 
tance over which they had to be transported in 
crowded box cars and filthy steamboats before much 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 23 

could he clone for them, it was impossible but that 
their suflerings in many cases should be of the most 
aggravated character. 

Our situation wliile in front of Fredericksburg was 
anything but comfortable. The men lived in all 
sorts of rudely constructed cabins, bough-houses and 
even subterranean huts, having no tents save the 
miserable misnamed shelter tents, which were used 
only as roofs for the conglomerate of structures which 
tlieir ingenuity had devised. The fire-places were j 

made of logs cemented and ph\stered with mud, and \ 

the chimneys mainly with empty barrels set on top 1 

of each other, (the heads being first knocked out,) ... 
and the}' also cemented together and plastered with 
mud. This Virginia mud, when thoroughl}^ dried 

by the lire, is almost as hard as common brick. The i 

water which we had to use and drink here was simply ! 

execrable. I don't think it was so bad as that in the \ 

Cove Basin, but it had a very similar appearance. i 

Each little spring and rivulet were eagerly sought ! 

and constantly' used by continual streams of soldiers, | 

necessarily keeping them in a perturbed and more | 

or less filthy condition; and besides, it was impossi- j 






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24 SERVICE AVITII THE 

ble that some portion of the vast amount of offal 
accumulating from tliis great army should not fmd 
its ^vayinto these sources of our water supply. This 
was specially so Avhen, as frequently happened, sev- 
eral regiments were encamped on the same little 
stream. Much sickness was caused during our un- 
comfortable stay here by this detestable water. 

On the sixteenth of January, 1863, we received 
marching orders, but were directed to remain in 
camp, simply holding ourselves in readiness to move 
at short notice. The line of march of the ri2:ht strand 
division commenced on January nineteenth and was 
continued throu<rh tlie tSventieth. Eciiiment after 
regiment, followed by long strings of batteries, con- 
tinued to move directly past our camp all day long, 
going to the right. Another great battle was sup- 
posed to be imminent. But alas for human plans ; 
whether made by great generals or by persons un- 
known to fiime, they are exceedingly liable to be 
thwarted. On the afternoon of the twentieth a cold 
northeast storm of wind, snow, sleet and rain came 
on and continued with increasing: force for more than 
thirty-six hours, which necessaril}^ put an end to the 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 25 

strategic movement of General Burnside, for the 
roads became utterl}^ impassable for the artillery, 
and practically so for all military purposes. After 
floundering about in the clayey mire for three days, 
the brave fellows came tramping back, weary and 
thoroughl}' disgusted, and again took up their abode 
in their wretched old quarters. Our gallant General 
Burnside was now relieved of the command of the 
great Army of the Potomac, and General Hooker 
appointed to succeed him. 

On the afternoon of February ninth, we broke 
camp and took the cars for Acquia Creek, en route for 
Fortress ]\Ionroe, as was supposed, but really for 
Newport News. There was hilarious rejoicing on 
all hands at the prospect of at last getting away 
from our abominable quarters. The huts were set 
on fire ; bonfires were made from the great piles of 
combustible debris which had accumulated during 
the w^inter ; the rude barns which had sheltered our 
horses and mules added to the contlagration, and for 
an hour or so before embarking we held high carni- 
val amidst the smoking ruins of ^'Camp ^lisery." 
At Acquia Creek we went on board the transport 
3 



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26 SERVICE WITH THE } 

steamers Mctamora and Juniata, and the next morn- I 

ing steamed down the broad Potomac. 

The airi'eeable chano-e of situation, togrether witli 
the pleasant sail, were very invigorating, and the 
men seemed almost to forget that they were soldiers, 

and to imagine themselves on some holiday excur- J 

sion. Arriving off Fortress Monroe at four a. m. | 

of the second day out, we awaited orders from Gen- I 

eral Dix, which being received we proceeded to | 

Newport Xews and disembarked. We had at last | 

got beyond Virginia mud, though still in Virginia, | 

the soil at this place being light and sandy, and the | 

ground for miles almost as level as Dexter Training | 

Ground. I 

The schooner Elizabeth and Helen from Provi- j 

dence, which we had long been expecting, arrived 
about the same time. She brouc^ht a little more 
than three hundred boxes from friends at home for 
our regiment, and our portion of the cargo of vege- 
tables was al)out ninet}- barrels. So that, altogether, 
we had a '* right smart heap " of the good things from | 

home. The contents of the boxes beins^ lar^relv of 1 

a ver}" perishable nature, were considerably dam- | 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 27 

aged OD account of having been so long on the jour- 
ney. But Ave made the best of it, and enjoyed the 
unpacking of those boxes quite as much, without 
doubt, as our friends at home did the packing. 
Nothing could have been more beneficial to us than 
the generous suppl}^ of vegetables which we re- 
ceived, having subsisted mainly on salt meats and 
hard-tack while at Fredericksburg. 

"A" tents were here issued to the companies ; 
everything was cheerful and tidy about the camp, 
and we seemed to be living in a new world. My 
duties called me to Fortress INIonroe nearly every 
day, which gave me a delightful little sail, together 
witli charming scenery and plenty of work. The 
scene of the exciting and unequal contest between the 
Merrimac and the Cumberland, in Hampton Eoads 
in March, 1862, was immediately in front of us ; 
and about a mile from the shore, in the direction of 
Norfolk, could be seen a portion of the masts of the 
latter, emerging from the water. 

After a stay of precisely six weeks at Newport 
News, during which time nothinjx of verv ^rcat 
importance transpired in the Ninth Army Corps, 



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28 SERVICE -WITH THE 

all of which were encamped at this delightful place, 
the Second Brigade, of which the Twelfth was a 
part, was ordered to the far-oj[f city of Lexington, 
Kentucky. Our regiment at once embarked on the 
steamer Long Island for Baltimore, whence we were 
to go by rail to the West. Some of the scenes on 
board that steamer at night were ludicrous in the ex- 
treme. I have heard of one's "hair standing- seven 
w^ays for Sunday," of things being "at sixes and 
sevens," and " all heads and points," but I must aver 
that the packing of the men on .that boat exceeded 
anything I had ever seen in the way of mixing up 
human beings. They l)estowecl themselves in every 
conceivable position. It was almost an impossibility 
to go three steps without causing some one to cry out, 
"Keep oft* from me ! " or, " O, my lingers ! " an oath 
generally preceding the expression, just for the 
sake of making it emphatic. The head of a soldier 
might frequently' be seen mixed in with the feet of 
two or three of his immediate neighbors. And in 
one case I discovered two men lying directly under 
one of the horses, fast asleep. I soon ascertained, 
however, that they had been imbibing too freely of 









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■1 TLi^i'li^ 






TWELFTH RHODE ISLA^'D. 29 

poor whiskey, and that therefore there was probably 
little immediate danger from tlieir situation. 

A sail of sixteen hours brought us to Baltimore, 
and a ride of three hundred and forty miles over 
the Baltimore and Ohio Kaih'oad took us to Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania, where we arrived at twelve 
o'clock on Saturday night, March twenty-eighth, 
tired and hungry. To our great joy we were imme- 
diately invited into the large and beautifully deco- 
rated hall occupied by the Soldiers' Eelief Society, 
where we found a splendid supper awaiting us. 
There were twelve tables, each running the entire 
length of the hall, each arranged to accommodate 
one hundred men, and all richly laden with an 
abundance of delicious food and fruit. Compli- 
ments were few and exceedingly brief, but the rattle 
of crockery and knives and forks was long and con- 
tinuous. The Seventh Rhode Island was in the hall 
at the same time, and you may be assured that 
Little Ehody showed an unbroken front here, as she 
bad already done under more trying circumstances 
elsewhere. Suspended from the front of the plat- 
form was the following in large letters: "Pitts- 









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30 - SERVICE WITH THE 

BURGH ^VeLCOMES HeR CoUNTRY's DEFENDERS ;" 

■while underneath this was " Roanoke, Newbern, 
Fredericksburg, Burnside, and the JN'intii Army 

CORRS." 

After the sumptuous repast was ended. Colonel 
Browne stepped upon the platform, and in a few 
appropriate and feeling remarks returned his thanks 
to the citizens of Pittsburgh for their hospitality to 
the soldiers of Ehode Island, and closed by propos- 
ing three cheers for our benefactors, which were given 
with a roar that seemed almost to raise the roof. 
We then marched out to make -room for others that 
were waiting, the remainder of our brigade being 
near b3% One of the waiters, who, I was informed, 
was the daughter of one of the first citizens of the 
city, told me that this hall had not been closed night 
or day for more than a week, and that every soldier 
who had passed through the city for a long time had 
partaken of their bounty if he chose to do so. 
Nearly five thousand had been fed during the past 
twelve hours, and still there was an abundance. 

At ten A. M. we took the cars for Cincinnati, 
which we reached after a pleasant ride of about 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 31 

four hundred miles through the most delightful sec- 
tion of country we had yet seen. We almost imag- 
ined ourselves making one of *' Perham's Grand Ex- 
cursions to the West." Every where along the route 
we met with tokens of welcome and encouragement. 
White handkerchiefs fluttered from ten thousand 
fair hands, while the stai-s and stripes were dis- 
played "from (cottage, hall and tower," in great pro- 
fusion. At Steubenville, Ohio, I should judge the 
inhabitants were nearly all at the depot on our arri- 
val, where the}^ greeted us with cheer upon cheer, 
besides innumerable expressions of -loyalty and good 
will. Five long trains of cars, containing the five 
regiments of our brigade, kept within a sliort dis- 
tance of each other during tliis entire journey, and 
when the forward train stopped, the others would 
come up within a few rods of each other, thus con- 
stituting an almost unbroken train for about two 
miles. The impromptu foraging parties that emerged 
from each of those trains whenever they came to a 
brief halt, it is unnecessary to describe to veterans. 
The brigade received a perfect ovation at Cincin- 
nati. The streets were crowded with the enthusias- 



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32 SERVICE WITH THE 

tic populace, many buildings were lorilliaiitly illu- 
minated, and the entire conduct of the people 
proved most conclusively that the Union sentiment 
here was dominant. While passing along one of 
the streets our regiment Avas treated to a perfect 
shower of nice white handkerchiefs, which were 
thrown from the windo^vs of a large brick block by 
a compan}^ of ladies. Each of these souvenirs was 
delicately perfumed and bore the name of the fair 
donor. We were also treated to another supper 
here, which, had we not fared so very sumptuously 
at Pittsburgh, would have been pronounced the ne 
plus ultra of feasts. After eating till we could eat 
no more, a fresh supply was brought on with which 
to fill our empty haversacks for the remainder of 
the journey. 

I was busily occupied all night, in company with 
a squad of men, in transferrino; the baa'orao-e across 
the river to Covington in ferry-boats, and loading it 
on board the train which was to convey us to Lex- 
ington, which cit}' we reached the following day, 
having been six days on the journey from Xewport 
News. We encamped on the State Fair Grounds, 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 33 

west of the city, a spacious and charming location, | 

adorned with elegant shade trees, and surrounded ' | 

with the stately suburban residences of some of the * 

chivalry of Kentucky. You may perhaps infer that 
we were somewhat inlluenccd by our aristocratic 
surroundings when I inform you that while here, 
our fire-wood consisted mainly of black-walnut, the 
ordinary fence-rails in that vicinity being composed 
of that material. 

The Sunday following our arrival here, the regi- 
ment was visited and brieily addressed by the ven- 
erable General Leslie Coombs, of Kentuckey, that 
staunch and life-long enemy of secession, who was 
a friend and okl acquaintance of Colonel Browne. 
His tall and manly form, liis long, flowing white hair, - 

and his statelj^ ])eariug, together with his stirring 
and patriotic remarks in favor of the preservation of 
the Union and the vigorous prosecution of the war, 
made an impression upon my mind that I shall never 
forget. 

After a week's sojourn hero, our brigade turned 
its face southward and commenced what subse- 
quently proved to be a long series of marches back 



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34 SERVICE WITH THE 

and fortli across the State, protecting exposed points \, 

and preparing for a probable meeting with tlie rebels j 

either under General Breckenridge or General Mor- • 

gan, who were constantly menacing the southern j 

borders of the State. And besides, the mountain- j 

ous districts thereof were infested with marauding | 

bands, mainly under the general direction of i\lor- 1 

gan, who were carrying on a guerilla warfare both I 

ao;ainst the Unionists of the State, who constituted \ 

j ; a majority of all the people, and also against the | 

I Union forces stationed there, thus keeping the citi- | 

I zens in a constant state of anxiety and trepidation. ! 

j The pillaging and murdering of the peaceable and I 

I inoffensive citizens of that would-be loyal State ])y | 

1 these organized bands of ruffians, constitute to my | 

I ' mind one of the darkest pictures of our civil war. 

Twenty-two miles over a macadamized road, ' 

\ through the celebrated " Blue Grass " region, brought 1 

■I 
us to Winchester, a pleasant inland village in Clarke 

county, where we were allowed to remain for the full 
i 
I period of eight days. Our next stopping place was 

at Richmond, a very inviting post-village of about 

; fifteen hundred inhabitants in Madison county, 



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TWELFTH iniODE ISLAND. 35 

twenty miles south of Winchester. This march, 
which occupied two days, took us through some of 
the most picturesque natural scenery to be found in 
the State, including Boonesboro, the scene of Daniel 
Boone's famous' exploits with the Indians, at which 
place the entire brigade crossed the Kentucky river 
in a common scow which would hold only iifty men 
at a time. This delayed us for at least half a day, so 
that we had a <]^ood view of the wild surroundinos. 

' I must here relate a personal incident. After 
arriving at Eichmond, I was sent back to Winchester 
to bring forward some stores and supplies which had 
been necessarily left there. Our teams had not 
arrived from Covington, and I was detained for three 
days awaiting their appearance. I was stopping at 
the house of one !Mr. Bush, a well-to-do planter, 
whose acquaintance I had made while the regiment 
was encamped there. On the third night of my stay 
with him I Avas suddenl}^ aroused from a sound sleep 
at one o'clock by two soldiers who had entered my 
room, and who immediately confronted me, one Avith 
a drawn sword, and the other with a revolver, which 
he held in one hand, and a lighted candle in the 



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36 SERVICE WITH THE 



other. They said nothing, except to caution me 
that an}^ attempt to move from my present position 
would be at the peril of m}^ life. One of them com- 
menced to search my clothes, while the other stood 
guard over me, holding his glistering revolver un- 
comfortably near my head. I thought, m^^ hour had 
probably come, taking it for granted that the men 
were rebel soldiers and had taken advantage of my 
isolated situation to first rob and then dispatch me. 
But I finally mustered courage enough to ask them 
their business as politely as I knew how, and was 
promptly informed, greatly to ni}' surprise, that I 
w^as a rebel spy and their prisoner and that they were 
Union soldiers sent there to arrest me. I at once 1 

felt relieved, knowing that I could readily establish | 

i 

my identity, and furthermore that I was tolerably 
safe anyway in the hands of Union soldiers. Mr. 
Bush, who had followed them into the room in his 
night-clothes, immediately assured them that I was 
not a rebel spy, or even a rebel, but a member of 
the Twelfth Ehode Island Volunteers, and manifested 
considerable indignation that he should even be sus- 
pected of harboring rebel spies. Some papers and 









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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 37 

letters in my pockets supported the testimony of my 
host, and after considerable time spent in examining 
them, my brave ( ?) captors concluded that I was not 
the man they were looking for, and left me with- 
out so much as an apology for tlicir mistake, to pon- 
der upon my deceitful appearance. I learned the 
next day that two rebel spies had in fact been prowl- 
ing about the neighborhood for several days, and 
that these officers (for such they were) had been 
searching for them. 

A week at Eichmond, three days at Paint Lick 
Creek, a tributary of the Cumberland, a week at 
Lancaster, and on we go, still southward, till we reach 
Crab Orchard, a Kentucky watering place of con- 
siderable note, where we remained for ten days. It 
was not every brigade that Avas allowed to spend 
this length of time at a fashionable southern water- 
ing place during the sultry days of June, at the 
expense of the Government. 

Listead of proccedmg still further southward, as 
had been expected, we were liere suddenly ordered 
to execute a " right about face," and retrace our steps 
to Nicholasville, a point twelve miles south of Lex- 









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38 SERVICE WITH THE 

ington, where it was understood we were to take the 
cars en route for tlie far-off city of Vicksburg, where 
we were to assist General Grant in the sieo-e acfainst 
that rebel strona"hohl. This was not encouraG^ino- 

O CO 

news to soldiers whose term of enlistment would 
expire in a little more tlian thirty days. Back we 
went, however, through the dust and heat, making 
the distance in two long days, the boj^s frequently 
rallying each other on the march with the remarks : 
"It's all in the nine months, boys ; " and, "Why did 
you come for a soldier? " 

Just as we got in sight of Nicholasville another 
surprise awaited us. One of the General's^ aids 
came dashing up to Colonel Browne Avitli orders 
detachinof his re<i:iment from the bri£>:ade and direct- 
ing him to report to General Carter at Somerset, 
more than seventy miles away, without delay. Half 
of this distance lay directly back over the route we 
had just travelled. This was, indeed, provoking. 
But we were soldiers, and had learned that our tirst 
and principal duty was prompt and unquestioning 
obedience to orders. So we bade good-bj-e to the 
other regiments of our brigade by giving three hearty 



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TWELFTH IlHOr>E ISLAND. 89 

cheers for Ccacli as they marched past us on tlieir long 
journe}^ to the West, and immediately turned our 
faces southward again and started for Somerset. 

It then being nearly sunset, Ave bivouacked for 
the night as soon as we came to a convenient place, 
and resumed our backward march at da^dight the 
next morning. The First Tennessee Battery and a 
regiment of mounted infantry soon joined us, and in 
company with them we reached Somerset, having 
gone by the way of Camp Dick Eo])inson and IlaH's 
Gap, after a four days' march. In six successive 
days we had marched one hundred miles. And what 
was somewhat remarkable, we- went into camp at the 
end of this time with not a man left behind. 

After a sta}^ of ten da3^s at Somerset, during which 
time our Ixise of supplies was at Stanford, thirtj'- 
three miles away, and could only be reached by our 
mule teams, we moved down to the Cumberland 
river, where we encamped on a high and precipitous 
bluii' overlookinc; the river and the ruo'oed moun- 
tainous scenery for a lono' distance. A brief rest 
and on, on we went airain, bivouackimr for a nioht 
on the battle-field of Mill Springs, where General 









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40 SERVICE WITH THE 

Zollicofler met his fate ; climbing the momitains with 
our heavily laden mule teams, building bridges, con- 
structing roads, and making but slow progress over 
the roughest country that I ever saw. Several of 
ni}^ teams were capsized and rolled do^Yn a steep 
embankment, mules, drivers and all ; others got 
mired in swamps, and it Avas with the greatest diffi- 
culty that they were ever extricated ; but we pulled 
ourselves along in one way and another over a dis- 
tance of thirty miles of this sort of country, and 
finally reached Jamestown (popularly known as 
** Jimtown"), on the southern border of Kentucky, 
on the twenty-third day of June, which place proved 
to be the end of our journc}^ southward. 

The Thirt^^-second Kentucky infantrjs called the 
*^ thirty two-sters," Colonel AYolford's famous cavalry 
regiment, six hundred strong, — the most dare-devil 
set of fellows, probably, in the Union service, — 
together with two mounted regiments of infantr}^ 
here reported to Colonel Browne and were tempo- 
rarily pl^iced under his command, and everything 
made ready for a brush with the rebels, which was 
daily expected, General Morgan being reported just 



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TWELFTH miODE ISLAND. 41 

in front of us with a large force. On the twenty- 
ninth of June our pickets were suddenly attacked 
and driven in by the enemy, causing the greatest 
excitement in camp. The long roll was instantlj^ 
sounded ; the men rushed to their companies with 
all possible speed ; the regiment was formed in line 
of battle at a double-quick by Lieutenant Colonel 
Shaw, and all was read}^ for the fray. Company A, 
Captain Alexander, and Compan}^ C, Captain Allen, 
had been previously stationed about half a mile in 
front, on a road leading south towards the Cumber- 
land river, where Ihe}^ had felled trees and erected a 
sort of rude barricade called Fort Alexander, in 
honor of the captain in conni^and, which position they 
continued to hold. 

The battery took a position on the Columbus road, 
on which the enemy was approaching ; the other 
regiments were just in the rear, while Wolford's 
cavalry went forward on a keen run, their famous 
commander being at least a hundred yards in front 
of his men when he passed our regiment, presenting, 
in connection with his headlong followers, a scene of 
the wildest excitement. He speedily came in con- 



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42 SERVICE WITH THE 

tact with the enemy, — whose particular object at 
this time was the captm-e of our battery, — drove 
them back without bringing on a general engagement, 
captured a score or more of prisoners, and so thor- 
oughly routed and scattered the enemy by his bold 
and vigorous dash, that they made no further attempt 
to dispute the possession of this antiquated town 
with our forces until the morning of the fourth of 
July following. ^ - ^ v '^v ; '"''"'''" ''■'■'■'T-' ■ " 

Our quartermaster's train, however, was attacked 
two days later, on its way from Green river, whither 
it had been for supplies, by a guerrilla band of about 
fifty men ; l3ut as the train was guarded by a com- 
pany of mounted infantry from the Seventh Ohio, 
the attack Avas repulsed after a vigorous contest, 
with some loss on both sides, and our provisions and 
quartermaster arrived in camp unharmed the next 
day, to the great joy of the regiment, who were 
nearly out of supplies. 

On the third of Jul}^ a battle was fought near 
Lebanon, which Avas a short distance to the north of 
us, between a portion of General Carter's forces and 






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TWELFTH iniODE ISLAND. 43 

those under General iMorgan, in which quite a num- 
ber were killed and several wounded. 

"We commenced the celebration of the glorious 
Fourth l)y forming in line of battle Avith alacrity at 
half-past three a. m., our pickets having been again 
driven in, and the rebels seeming determined to have 
a bout Avith us before we left Kentucky. And 1 
think our men would as soon have fought as not on 
this occasion, being tired of the constant annoyance, 
and ready to prove to Kentucky bushwhackers what 
kind of stuff they were made of. But, fortunately 
for both sides dou])tless, the rebels remained outside 
of Jimtown," and our forces remained inside, rest- 
ing on their arms all day, and momentarily expect- 
ing an attack, which, however, was not made. And 
on the fifth of July, General Carter, deciding doubt- 
less that this part of the State was not worth fight- 
ing for any longer, abandoned it to the enemy and 
moved his forces northward ; hrst to Somerset, and 
then to Stanford, our base of supplies, which he con- 
tinued to hold. Somerset was again reached after 
three days of the most difficult marching we had ever 
experienced, a heavy rain storm being in progress 



A 



44 SERVICE ^VITH THE 

most of the time, rendei-iiig the movement of the 
artillery and hcavj^-laden army wagons well nigh 
impossible. AVith ten mules on one team, and two 
industrious swearers to drive them, I was only able 
to make a distance of two rods tbrough the mire in 
the space of one whole hour, on one occasion during 
the first day of this march, which, by the way, was 
on Sunday. 

Of course the army could move no faster than the 
wao'on train on this march, as the rebels were imme- 
diately in our rear, ready to pounce upon us if a good 
opportunity was-offercd. 

Eight days of continuous marching, most of the 
time over the same route we had travelled twice, and 
some of it three times before, and wc were again at 
Nicholasville, where our regiment took the cars for 
Cincinnati by the way of Lexington. Our term of 
service had expired, but at the request of our greatly 
beloved General Burnside, we remained at Cincin- 
nati for a week to assist in protecting that much 
frightened city from the raids of the somewhat 
ubiquitous General Morgan, who had preceded us 
from "Jimtown" to that more populous and inviting 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 45 

community. Another journey of a thousand miles 
— not, however, on foot — and the Twelfth Eegi- 
ment was again at home. 



MEMORIAL OF GEORGE H. BROWNE, 

[Late Colonel of the Twelfth Kegimcnt.] 

Colonel George H. Browne departed this life at 
Providence on the twenty-seventh day of September, 
A. D. 1885, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, sin- 
cerely lamented by all who- knew him. He was a 
Ehodc Islander by birth and education ; thoroughly 
imbued with the history and traditions of the State, 
and always identified himself with its best interests. 
Conservative, candid and outspoken, and an excel- 
lent judge of human nature, he was not easily de- 
ceived or led to do an unwise or even an injudicious 
act. To say that he was a wise, prudent and thor- 
oughly conscientious man, is but to voice the com- 
mon sentiment of all those who knew him. 

Since September of 1862, I have known Colonel 



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46 SERVICE wixn the 

Browne well, and been honored by his constant 
friendship. During the period of his service in the 
army, my duties brought me in almost daily contact 
with him ; I was one of his mess during our Ken- 
tucky campaign, and had the opportunity to study 
his character and habits with deliberation ; while 
since the war I have known him in the walks of 
private, professional and political life. And for 
stalwart manliness, transparent honesty and true 
nobility of character, I can unhesitatingly say that I 
have not known his superior. 

As the commanding officer of the Twelfth Regi- 
ment, he at once inspired both the confidence and 
love of his men. His utmost energies were contin- 
ually put forth for the efficiency and usefulness of 
his command, while his efforts for the personal wel- 
fare of each individual member thereof were prover- 
bial. Indeed, in the latter respect he seemed more 
like a kind father watch i nix over the welfLire of his 
children, than a cold military commander issuing the 
stern edicts of war. It was his daily habit to go 
about the camp and personally inspect the same, 
frequently making his appearance in the tents and 






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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 47 . | 

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huts of the privjites as well as in the quarters of the I 

officers, for the purpose of ascertaining their condi- \ 

tion as to cleanliness and comfort ; inquiring after 

the wants of the men ; visiting the hospital and 

speaking words of hope and good cheer to those who 

were sick, and in many other waj's seeking to minis- . 

ter to the welfare of his command. A single instance 

of his unselfish devotion to the good of his men 

illustrates this characteristic. 

On Sunday, May 3, 1863, his regiment marched 
from Eichraond, Kentucky, to Paint Lick Creek, a 
distance of twelve miles, through a drenching rain. 
Many of the men had become foot-sore or otherwise 
disabled b}' reason of the great amount of marching 
they had recently done, and some of these became 
unable to complete the journey ; whereupon, Colonel 
Browne, Lieutenant Colonel Shaw, and other field 
officers, gave up their horses to the use of these dis- 
abled ones, and themselves tramped with the men 
through the mud and rain for a good part of this 
distance. 

Colonel Browne was a brave man. He faced the 
guns of the enemy at Fredericksburg where the 



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48 SERVICE WITH THE 

battle waxed hottest, with as much apparent coohiess 
as though simply facing his regiment on dress parade. 
A ball pierced his mantle; "the noise of battle 
hurtled in the air," and death-dealino; missiles were 
flying thick about him, but he neither wavered nor 
blanched. Wherever his re2:iment was ordered to 
go, thither he promptly went in front of it, inspiring 
his followers with courage both by his genuine hero- 
ism and his manly words of cheer. 

His bravery, however, was not of the ostentatious 
or noisy sort. It was more like the current of a still 
but deep-flowing river, which moves calmly but 
steadily onward, irresistibly drawing to itself, and 
unconsciously controlling all the lesser streams about 
it. He never paraded his virtues before his fellow- 
men, or posed as a hero or statesman for public 
applause. Indeed, he utterly scorned all attempts 
made by others for the sake of notoriety and position 
as vulgar and unworthy. He admired, however, 1 

and honestly won, the fame which follows generous J 

and noble deeds, and not that which is soui^ht after \, 

by the demagogue and the charlatan. He was nota- 
bly considerate and courteous in his treatment of 



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TWELFTH rJIODE ISLAND. 49 

his subordinates in office, never seeming to com- 
mand, while in fact exercising the most perfect 
control. 

Colonel Browne retained an abiding interest in the 
men of his regiment to the da}'' of his death. His 
greetings to them on the street, in the marts of 
trade, and especially at their annual reunions, were 
ahva3^s warm and hearty. A single incident will 
serve to illustrate his interest in tbeir welfare. 
Meeting me one day last winter on Westminster 
street, he said : "Judge, Fve got some good news to 
tell you," and invited me to step into a bookstore 
which he was then })assing while he should reveal it. 

"Do you remem])er Sergeant , of Company 

— : — ?" said he, his face all aglow Avith that expres- 
sion of happiness which was peculiar to him. "Yes, 
Colonel, I do ; what about him?'' " AVhy, he's been 
out West, and by diligence and skill in a prolitable 
I business which he there engaged in, first as clerk 

I and subsequently' as one of the firm, and now as the 

I manager thereof, has actually made his fortune, and 

I is to-da3^ a rich and highl}' respected man. And he 

came to see me the other day and told me all about 

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50 SEIIVICE WITH THE 



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it." And then ^vith much enthusiasm and honest 
pride in his manner, said: ''Isn't that good'neivs 
from one of our hoys?'' Had this sei'geant been his 
own son, he could hardly have manifested more joy 
in his prosperity. 

His private benefactions to several of his men who 

HI 

had long ])een in indigent circumstances, are knoAvn j 

and remembered by Ilini who said: "Inasmuch as » l 

ye have done it unto one of the least of these my ] 

brethren, ye have done it unto me." | 

I 
There was no circumlocution or ambiguity in Col 

onel Browne's methods. Whatever he had to do, he 
went about in a direct and business-like way, and 
prosecntcd it to completion in tlie same straightfor- 
ward manner. He had none of the arts or tricks of 
the demagogue, and was utterly incapable of double- 
dealing or hypocrisy. And no man whom I have 
■ ever known, more thoroughly detested these base 
qualities in others. He had no patience with shams 
or subterfuges of any sort whatsoever, and did not 
hesitate to frown upon them with indignation when- 
ever and wherever they appeared. If diplomacy 
has been correctly' dclined as being the art of con- 



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TWELFTH RHODE ISLAND. 51 

cealing one's thoughts in his Linguagc, he never 
would have made a successful diplomat ; for he 
always said just what he meant, and always meant 
just Avhat he said. ' •' r? ' 

Colonel Browne's abilities, both natural and ac- 
quired, wei-e of a high order. He had a broad, vig- 
orous and well-])alanccd mind, which liad been thor- 
oughly trained and disciplined to habits of logical 
and exact reasoning, and a power of analysis Avhich 
led him to correct conclusions with almost mathe- 
matical certainty, lie was not a superficial thinker, 
but always insisted on laying bare the very roots of 
the matter under consideration; and then gradually 
working upwards to natural and legitimate conclu- 
sions. His processes of reasoning were inductive 
rather than dogmatic. With such a mind, so con- 
stituted and developed, he was eminently fitted for 
positions of trust and responsibilit}', whether private 
or public, which fact the citizens both of his native 
town and State were not slow to learn and appre- 
ciate. 

As a legislator he was diligent, prudent and con- 
servative, possessing the courage of his convictions, 



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52 SERVICE WITH THE 

alwa^'S exerting a large and salutary inllucnce hy his 
candor, integrity and good judgment, and readily 
won the confidence and esteem of his associates. 
Public oiEce was with him a public trust, to be 
administered with strictest lidclit}^ and care. 

In his chosen profession, in which the strength of 
his vigorous manhood was spent, he attained emi- 
nence and preferment, being a recognized leader of 
the bar of this State for many years before his death. 
A safe and able counsellor, an ingenuous and con- 
vincing advocate and an honorable opponent, he 
brought to the practice of his profession those quali- 
ties which insure success. Quibbles and quirks and 
barren technicalities Averc an abomination to him as 
a foundation upon which to base an action or a 
defense. Like Solon, " who built his commonweal 
on equity's wide base," so he built his legal structures 
on the broad principles of justice, truth and right. 

In 1874 he was elected to the hiirh and honorable 
office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of this 
State by a legislature composed mainly of his poli- 
tical opponents, a monumental tribute to his integ- 
rity, learning and ability. lie declined the office, 



twp:lftii eiiode island. 53 

hov/cver, find remained in the profession which he 
had dignified and honored to the day of his death. 

As a private citizen he was a man of unimpeach- 
able character, generous impulses, and high and 
noble purposes. His life was pure and unostenta- 
tious, and his manner frank and undisguised. Let 
us ever cherish his memor}', and strive to emulate 
his virtues. 



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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IN THE 



War of the Rebellion, 

BEING PAPERS READ BEFORE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. . 



Third Series -No. 16. 



providence: 

PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIEXr. 

1886. 



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BATTEEY D, 

FIRST EH0r)E ISlilNB MSHT IRiMltLERY, 



BATTLE OF AA^TIETAM 



SEPTEMBER 17, 1862. 



BY 

J. ALBERT MONROE, 
[Late Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Rhode Island Light Artillery.] 



PROVIDENCE : 

rUliLISUED BY THE SOCIETY. 

1886. 



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BATTEET D, AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 



Although Bcattcry D had a good and widespread 
army reputation, it was probably less known at 
homo, here in Rhode Island, than any other of the 
eight batteries that formed the First Regiment 
Rhode Island Light Artiller}^ for the reason that 
the men composing it, having been recruited mainly 
from the towns of Warwick, Coventry, West Green- 
wich and Foster, had fewer friends in the thicklj^ 
settled cities and towns, to take pride in narrating 
their exploits in the newspapers of the day, or to 
call the attention of editors to their deeds. In 
common with many other officers of the army, 
though exercising no rudeness, the commanding 
officer gave no encouragement to newspaper men to 
make notes in his camp, preferring to succeed or 
fail through the official record made by his superior 
officers, rather than to depend for reputation upon 



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6 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

the reports of irresponsible civilians whose kisses, 
it was well understood, more often were rewards for 
favors than otherwise. ' 

Nearly every other battery, too, had among its 
members some one who acted as regular or occasional 
correspondent of at least one of the Providence 
daily papers, and who kept the doings of his partic- 
ular battery before the public, while in Battery D 
there was not a single newspaper letter-writer. In a 
thorough search of the files of the Providence Daily 
Journal and the Evening Press, I have been unable 
to find a single letter from that organization, except 
one or two of my own, giving the names of men 
killed and wounded in action — nothing more. 

However limited was its reputation at home, it 
w^as known in the corps of which it was a part, as 
one of the best of fighting batteries, and how well 
it merited such distinction it is the purpose of this 
paper to show. 

While preparing the paper, I have come across 
the following in the Providence Daily Journal of 
September 23, 1862. The correspondent alluded to 
was a little mixed in his account, for there can bo 






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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTTETAM. 7 * 

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no question but that Batteiy D was entitled to at \ 

least a part of the credit given in his story, and it • 

is by no means strange that a mistake should be 
made ; in fact, it is a wonder that war correspondents, 
particular!}^ at this period of the war, got their ac- 
counts so nearly accurate as they did, for during and ! 
immediately after a battle one could not tell in the ! 
confusion one division, brigade or battery from an- i 
other, unless personally acquainted with the officers j 
connected with them, for the system of flags and 

badges by which difterent conmiands could be desig- j 

nated, had not then been adopted. It will be 1 

noticed that he falls into the natural error of con- I 

necting the battery with General Green's command, ■ ; 

or rather that he leads one to infer that it was a part ! 

of it, whereas there was no Ehode Island battery 
whatever attached to that division. 

The article, under the head "A Rhode Island ; 

Battery in the Battle," reads : ^ 

"The correspoiuleiit of the Neio York Herald saj's that the - j 

Third Rhode Island Battery was in General Green's Division, j 

better known as General Augur's. We do not know which battery i 

is meant. It was supported by General Geary's old brigade, com- j 

manded by Lieutenant-Colonel Tyndale, of the Twenty-eighth i 



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8 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY [ 

Pennsylvania Eegiment, and bj^ General Prince's old brigade, com- i 

manded by Colonel Steinrook, of the One Hundred and Ninth | 

Pennsylvania Regiment. The letter says: 'Tlie two brigades | 

were at first posted as supports to the Third Rhode Island | 

Battery. The battery was placed in position in front of a I 

small Dunkard church. The guns, apparently without much | 

infantry support at first, presented a tempting offer as trophies \ 

to the enemy, and consequently a large force soon advanced in | 

splendid style, firing on the gunners, apparently determined to I 

capture. But as they came within convenient distance, they found J 

to tlieir sorrow that these two brigades of General Green's had i 

been in the meantime getting into position and had formed on a | 

line on the right and left of the Rliode Island battery. As the j 

rebels came from the woods in splendid style, as mentioned, they ^ 

j 

were met, not only by the galling fire of tlie artillery itself, but by a | 

simultaneous fire of the infantry, which until then, was unperceived :| 

by the enemy. It is a comparatively easy undertaking for a large body | 

of soldiers to capture a battery of artillery, however quick its fire, | 

if undefended by infantry, because the advancing line soon shoots I 

down the horses and the gunners, but it Is quite another thing to ?i 

capture guns and carry them from the field \vhen they are well sup- J 

ported by infantry. And so in the present instance were those I 

Rhode Island guns defended. Tlie audacious rebels were driven ^ 

back into the timber, where our infantry then advanced upon them, 
drove them out of it and occupied the woods themselves. 

*The battery then wheeled to the left and poured a most de- 
Btructive fire upon those retreating rebels and upon other rebel 
troops appearing on tlie left. The Twenty-seventh Indiana Regi- 
ment, which liad been sent to participate in the last mentioned 
operation, fought fast and was compelled to retire before some of 
the other regiments, because the men had expended all their 
ammunition. 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. \J 

'The Thirteentli New Jersey Regiment, wliicli was present on a 
similar service, did excellent execution and remained in tlie woods 
until the command retired. 

'The rebel battery had been compelled to retire, the gunners 
leaving their limbers behind, and this position was held for a full 
hour, until, at nearly noon, the enemy came out in tremendous 
force in front of General Howard's command of Sumner's Corps, 
which had already got into action further to the left, and General 
Green's Division being partially outflanked and subjected to a 
disastrous enfilading fire, was compelled to withdraw from the 
woods about a quarter of a mile, and did not actively ])articipate 
in the battle during the remainder of the afternoon.' " 

« ' ■ 

With this as a sort of preface, I will try to tell 
the story of Battery D at the battle of Antietain, 
which Avill descri])c, in its recital, more in detail 
what took place, so far as the artillery was con- 
cerned, at the time the correspondent speaks of. 

September 13, 1862, the Army of the Potomac 
passed through the city of Frederick, Maryland. 
Lee's army had but just left there, and we had 
understood that its presence had been warmly wel- 
comed 1)}^ the citizens generally. If I remember 
correctly, Frederick was then looked upon as a sort 
of hot-bed of secession in that section, the strong- 
hold of the copperheads, and we looked forward to 






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10 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

our march through the city with considerable feeling 
of curiosity. I did not observe any special mani- 
festations, either of joy or of disappointment, on 
the part of the people as we passed througli, but 
there was displayed, on every hand, intense interest 
in our movement. The sidewalks of the street 
through which we marched were well filled with 
people, though by no means crowded, but the win- 
dows of the houses were thronged with eager ob- 
servers, c-'' ,: I'-.-r.'^.^: :^ V ; ■ ]^u- 

The next day, the fourteenth, occurred the battle 
of South i\Iountain. During this action. Battery 
D was ordered to take position where it would be 
available in case of necessity. Although wx were 
60 situated as to be constantly under tire, the battery 
was not actually engaged at any time during the day, 
though firing an occasional shot ; but our position 
was such that we had an excellent view of General 
Eeno's movements, and we witnessed with intense 
Batisfaction his charging lines of infantry as they 
made their assaults through the timber upon the 
enemy, who, under its protection, felt secure in his 
position on the mountain side. 






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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 11 

The afternoon of the sixteenth found us in the 
vicinity of the field where was to take phice the 
great battle of Antietam. The divison of which 
Battery D formed a part, Doubleday's Division, 
Hooker*s Corps, crossed tlie Antietam just before 
dark, and it was quite dark when we halted for the 
night. We struck off to the left from the road soon 
after crossing the stream, and marching quite a dis- 
tance went into park at reduced intervals, with a 
number of other batteries. Our position was on 
cleared ground and on the summit of a commanding 
ridge, as w^e discovered the next morning. To our 
left and front was a heavy growth of timber, and 
as our infantry advanced into it to establish a picket 
line, a heavy skirmish took place. It had grown very 
dark then, and the flashes from the discharges of the 
small arms presented a beautiful sight. This took 
place but a few yards from us, and w^e knew that 
we were in the immediate presence of the enemy in 
force, and that by early dawn w^e would be strug- 
gling with him in battle on that very held. As a 
matter of fact, our lines were only a few yards 
apart, and during the night we made prisoners of 



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12 THE lUIODE ISLAND AIITILLEUY 

several rebel pickets who, in the darkness, stumbled 
upon our pickets. 

The caissons, battery-wagon and forge of the 
battery were disposed of under cover of the hiJl, 
and quite a long distance to the rear of our bivouac. 
The officers' cook was directed to stay with the 
caissons and to bring up breakflist before da34ight 
in the morning. The teams were not unhitched 
from the carriages, but the bridles of the horses 
Avere slipped, so as to give the animals a chance to 
feed. It was late when the horses Avere fed and the 
men had eaten their suppers. The officers contented 
themselves with a hasty Ijite that the cook brought 
up from the rear. 

At length Ave were all stretched upon the ground, 
wrapped in our blankets, and everything Avas quiet 
except the snoring of the heavy sleepers, the munch- 
ing of the horses as they ground the grain with 
their teetli, and the occasional firing of the pickets. 
At this period of the Avar, picket firing AA^as very 
unpopular with both sides, and though the tAA^o lines 
might be only a little distance apart, it Avas not 
much indulged in. In the spring and early summer 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 13 

of 1864, when the army marched through the Wikler- 
ness and entered upon the campaign that ended 
with the investment of Petersburg, the pickets made 
liv^ely music whenever the lines were in close prox- 
imity, and it was seldom that the picket line was 
established or relieved without a number of casual- 
ties. 

^Ve were awakened before daylight b}^ the cook, 
who had brought up a pail of steaming coffee, some 
johnny-cakes and "fixins," together with cups, plates 
and other table ware. A blanket was spread on the 
ground for a table-cloth, on which was placed the 
breakfast, and the officers gathered around it on their 
haunches. It was the earl}" S^^'-^Y light that appeared 
just before the sun rises above the horizon, and w^e 
could little more than distinguish each other. AVe 
had not half finished our meal, but it had grown 
considerably lighter, and we could see the first rays 
of the sun lighting up the distant hilltops, when 
there was a sudden flash, and the air around us ap- 
peared to be alive with shot and shell from the ene- 
my's artillery. The opposite hill seemed suddenly 



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14 THE PJIODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 



to have become an active volcano, belchino: forth 
flame, smoke and scorice. 

The first shot ai)parentl3^ passed directl}^ through 
our little breakfast party, not more than a foot or 
two above the blanket, and it struck the ground 
only a few feet from us. Every one dropped wdiat- 
ever he had in his hands, and looked around the 
group to see whose head was missing. So suddenly 
did the firing commence and so rapidly did shot fol- 
low shot, I felt lost for an instant. — 1 never knew 
how the others felt, — but I at once ordered Hugh 
Eider, my groom, to give me m^^ mare, who was j 

hitched only about ten feet distant, and by the time | 

he got her to me I had fully recovered from my sur- f 

prise. I 

At the first flash of the rebel guns the men sprang | 

to their posts, the drivers adjusted the horses' bri- 1 

dies, the cannoneers took their equipments, and the II 

only order necessary to give was < 'Action front!" 
W'hich was quickly executed. Gibbons' Batter}', 
Company B, Fourth United States Artillery, was on 
our left ; Battery L, First New York Artillery, Cap- \ 

tain J. A. Eeynolds, was on our right, as was also 






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• AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 15 J- 

\ 

Gerrish's Battery, the First New Hampshire, under \ 

command of First Lieutenant F. M. Edgell. As 
quickly as possible every gun, twenty-four in num- 
ber, fired in reply to the enemy. 

I have always thought that but one l)attery opened 
upon us, though others believe there were two or 
three opposed to us. Whatever number there was, 
they must have found their position a warm one, for 
the gunners of three of these (our batteries) could 
not be excelled for marksmanship, estimation of dis- 
tances, and all the good qualities that go to make a 
skillful gunner. The winter previous they had been 
exercised by Captain Gibbon in firing at target, 
sighting, etc., and they had acquired great proficiency 
in these points, as staled in my paper, "Incidents of 
the War." The fuses of the shell and case were ac- 
curately timed, and the projectiles burst where it was 
intended that they should — among the guns and lim- 
bers of the enem}', who had stirred up a hornets' 
nest, and the hornets proved too many for him, for 
after an hour or so he ceased firing: and withdrew his 
guns. 

Soon after the firing commenced, Gibbon's battery 



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16 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

was ordered b}^ General Hooker to a position in 
some ploughed ground in front of the wood at our 
left, where it was supported b}^ General Gibbon's bri- 
gade, and before the enemy's guns in our front were 
silenced. Captain Reynolds' battery was ordered to 
take position ver}^ near to it, but two other batteries 
advanced to the ground that Captain Reynolds had 
left, so that our fire was not diminished in the least. 

Being on the extreme right of our line and some- 
what to the rear of it, we were not very much ex- 
posed after the artiller}^ ceased firing, for the ene- 
my's centre and the right of his left wing were so 
hotly pressed that ho had neither the time nor the 
force to attempt the advance of his extreme left. He 
tried only to hold the ground that he already had 
possession of, and right manfull}' he resisted the as- 
saults made upon him. 

After the cessation of the artillery fire we had an 
easy time until about ten o'clock, when General 
Gibbon rode up to me and said : "Here, Captain ; 
3^our men are good and fresh ; General Hooker wants 
to see you." I thought it pretty cool, this reference 
to the fresh condition of the men, for they bad had 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 17 

but little sleep for several nights, and they had been 
hard at work since early daylight, for after working 
the guns they were kept busy replenishing the am- 
munition chests and at other necessar}- work ; be- 
sides, we v/ere very short-handed, owing to heavy 
losses in previous actions. First directing Lieuten- 
ant Fisk to limber the pieces, I reported to General 
Hooker, whom I found at the point where a little 
while after he received the severe wound that inca- 
pacitated him for further service that day. Said he : 

** Captain, 3^ou see that cornfield ; the second one, 
I mean ? " 

*< Yes, sir." 

<* You see the one be}' ond that?" . •, ,; 

<^ Yes, sir." -::^' ,, . '..:,'.y; 

*< Well, I want you to go through the second one 
into the ploughed ground, and into the cornfield be- 
yond, if you can get there. Xow go and look out 
for your support ; you will find some infantry there 
to support 3^ou." 

The bullets were right thick where he gave me 
the order, for the position was an exposed one, just 
such as one would expect to find General Hooker in. 



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18 THE RHODE ISLAND AKTLLEEY 

On the right was the Hagcrstown turnpike, leading 
to Sharpsburg, running southerly and parallel with 
the line of vision. The ground ^Yas elevated and 
gave a fine view of a long stretch of open land that 
lay between two irregular lines of timber, the east- 
erlj^ one on the left, fringing the hills at the base of 
the South Mountain range, where the Antietam 
coursed along on its way to the Potomac ; the other 
at the right, on the further side of the turnpike and 
to the westward, more clear and more open than the 
other. The trunks of the trees on the right were 
bare of branches and foliage from ten to twenty feet 
or more above the ground, and the rebels were dis- 
tinctly seen in all the various regular and irregular 
formations of a battlefield. The Dunker church was 
in plain sight, and down to that point our troops, 
apparently, had driven the enemy into or across the 
turnpike. As far as the church the ground appeared 
to be a descending plain of cultivated land, be3^ond 
which it seemed undulating- and uncertain in char- 

o 

acter. 

There lay before the eye two-thirds of the dis- 
tance to the bridge where General Burnside had then 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 19 

already commenced his heavy assaults, for the pur- 
pose of carr^^ing the bridge and effecting a lodgement 
of his corps on the west of the Antietara, so as to 
make a junction with our centre. Over this space 
the two lines had been putting forth all their ener- 
gies since early light, and the ground was strewn 
with dead and wounded horses and men, clothing, 
knapsacks, canteens, muskets and side arms broken 
and twisted in every imaginable manner. The blue 
and the gray were indiscriminatelj' mingled, either 
motionless and lifeless, or dragging their bleeding 
forms along in search of some less exposed situation. 
And there were those whoso life-blood was fast or 
slowly ebbing away, with only strength sufficient to 
raise a supplicating arm for assistance or relief. The 
stretcher-bearers were straining ever}^ nerve to suc- 
cor the helpless wounded, but it would have required 
a force in itself equal to a small army to have imme- 
diately removed them all ; nor would their situation 
have been materially improved by removal, except 
that they would have been carried from the midst of 
the noise and excitement of the field, for the hospi- 
tals were crowded to repletion, and hundreds were 












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20 THE RHODE ISLAND AKTILLERY 

waiting their tarns for the care of the surgeons, 
Down through this field of confusion Avent Battery 
D, closely followed by Lieutenant Edgell with the 
First New Hampshire battery. 

Unless under great excitement horses will not step 
on the bodies of men, either alive or dead, but when 
attached to a battery they may go so close as to cause 
farther injury to the wounded or mutilation to the 
dead by passing the wheels over them ; so we picked 
our way carefully, avoiding running over the bodies 
strewn around on every hand, and looking out for 
the wounded. At one point we were moving along 
quite" briskly, when a poor wounded fellow, clad in 
the dingy yellow, the "butternut," as we called it, 
so common to the uniforms of the rebel soldiers, 
with a countenance expressive of all the terror of 
one who expected no consideration, raised himself 
on one elbow and cried out, " 0, don't run over me ! " 
I said, as some of the men quickly but carefully 
removed him aside, "You shan't be hurt, my man,'' 
and an expression of relief and gratitude overspread 
his face that spoke more plainly and loudly than 
would have a thousand words of thanks. 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 21 * | 

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We finally entered the cornfield designated by 
General Hooker, pushed through it and reached 
our advanced line. A little distance to our left and 
front was a brigade or division of infantry lying on 
the ground as if awaiting an attack. As the battery 
halted, a rifled projectile came tumbling through the 
air, which indicated that the rebel artillery was 
watching our movement. From the position the 
infantry were in, I judged there must be a strong 
force of the enemy in our immediate front, and 
questioned within m3^self the judiciousness of going 
into battery in so advanced a position. Riding to 
the infantry, I asked whose brigade it was, and was 
answered General Greene's, Looking: around I saw 
the General approaching, and I asked him if he could 
support my battery. He answered in a low tone of 
voice that he w^as out of ammunition. I remember 
the thought coming into my mind that it was a 
mighty funny place for men without ammunition to 
be in, and that if the}^ could hold their position with 
nothing in their cartridge-boxes, artillery surely 
ought to be able to hold theirs with limber chests 









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22 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 



well packed and good nieii to work the guns, so I 1 

gave the order, "In battery." j 

What happened here may be best told in general : 

terms by an extract from my official report of the | 

part the division artillery took in the action. Cap- | 

4 

tain Campbell, of Gibbon's battery, was the ranking | 

artillery officer in the division, but he was severely 
wounded in the shoulder in the early })art of the day, 
and his injury Avas so severe that it necessitated his 
removal to the hospital, and the command of the I 

artillery consequently devolved upon me, and the I 

report of its doings. Giving in detail the part | 

taken by the batteries as the day progressed, the \ 

report says relative to Battery D : 1 

"General Hooker directed the Kiiode Island battery to move for- 
ward beyond the second corntield, if practicable, and to take posi- 1 
tion as near to the woods as possible. The battery advanced, fol- ' 
lowed by Lieutenant Edgell's Xew Hampshire battery, to the 

position indicated, and went into battery about * yards from 

the wood, the Xew Hami)sl)ire battery taking position at the left 
and about one hundred yards in rear. A battery of the enemy here 
opened on the lUiode Island battery, but no attention was paid to 
it, as their fire was perfectly inel'lective. The Rhode Islanders 

* This space is not filled in tlie origir.;i! draft, wliicli I retained, rrobnbly it 
was so left in tlie dnift and liiled in tlie report after further coiisiderutiun. 



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AT THE BATTLE OF AXTIETAM. 23 

opened with one section upon a body of the enemy that \vas seen 
retreating just to tlie left of their front, and about an Inindred and 
twenty-five yards distant, throwing them into great confusion. 
The other four guns opened witli canister and case upon a large 
force advancing through the wood, wliich was very open, and with 
the assistance of the other two guns, wliieh in a short time had 
accomplished their ol)ject, and the Xew Hampshire battery, cliecked 
the enemy, and ho retired out of sight. While the Uhode Island 
battery was engaged in forcing back the enemy in the wooda body 
of sharpshooters had crept unobserved along a little ridge that ran 
diagonally to the battery front, and thej^ opened a most deadly fire, 
killing and disabling many horses and men. 

"As soon as possible a section was directed to open upon them 
with canister. Though this caused them no injnrj", as tliey lay 
down under cover of the ridge, it kept them almost silent, they fir- 
ing only an occasional shot without cft'ect. While this section was 
keeping the sharpi)hooters silent, the other four guns and tlie Xew 
Hampshire battery opened upon the enemy's battery that was still 
firing, and they soon silenced it. The Ehode Island battery was 
then ordered to limber to the rear. The sharpshooters took advan- 
tage of the opportunity thus afforded and opened upon the battery 
most brisk!}-, killing and disabling a large number of horses. 

"My own horse was pierced by six bullets, and Lieutenant Fiske's 
horse was also shot. On one piece all the horses but one lead horse 
were either killed or disabled, and the piece was drawn away by 
hand, by means of the prolonge. AVe were obliged to leave the 
limber, but it was subsequently recovered. 

"The New namp>hire battery left at the same time, and went 
back to its original position. After securing to a caisson the piece 
belonging to the lost limber, tlie Kliode Island battery moved into 
the plot of ground between the second cornfield and the ploughed 



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24 THE RHODE ISLAND AIITLLEKY 



laud beyond the first cornfield, and went into battery with five | 

guns, shelling the woods in front. After firing a short time it 1 

retired to its original position." 1 

I 
As soon as I found what a difficult and dangerous j 

position we were in, I sent to General Greene a J 

request to keep the sharpshooters down, so that we j 

could get our guns away, but the answer came back | 

that he could not, for w\ant of ammunition. The | 

cannoneers wxre rapidly leaving their posts on ac- | 

count of w^ounds, and the drivers w^ere constantly | 

emplo3''ed in relieving their disabled horses. j 

I realized that we must get our guns away then, 
or leave them where they w^cre. Not the slightest 
doubt arose in my mind but that the men would 
stick to their pieces, for at the Second Bull Eun 
battle their nerve and steadiness were tested in a 
severer trial than 1 had ever expected to see artillery- 
men subjected to. Twice the enemy tried to wrest 
their guns from them, and in one of the attempts 
they got in among the cannoneers, but with a pluck 
that excited the highest enthusiasm among the 
infantry and several general officers wdio witnessed 
it, they took their guns away in safety, although 



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AT THE BATTLE OF AXTIETAM. 25 

batteries both on their left and their right were 
abandoned on the iield by the men serving with 
them. I knew my men, and I felt that Ave were 
making a needless sacrifice. 

When the order "Limber to the rear" was given 
it was executed almost in the twinkling of an eye, 
but the men behind the ridge then had us at their 
mercy, and right well did they improve the time in 
showing the temper of it. They rose up in an 
unbroken line and poured their lead into us a per- 
fect storm. 

Lieutenant Parker took away four pieces with few 
losses, considering the lire we were under. One of 
Lieutenant Fiske's pieces had similar good fortune, 
but the other was less fortunate. As the horses 
made the turn to bring the limber to the trail of the 
piece, they^ seemed to melt like wax before a fire. 
Before a disabled horse could be disenfj^ao^ed from 
the team, another would fall. A pang of intense 
pain rushed over mo as the thought forced itself 
upon my mind that the piece must be left, and the 
closing paragraph of a letter that I received from 
Governor Sprague the previous winter stood out be- 
fore me as in letters of fire. He wrote : 
3 






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26 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

" I am glad you speak so Yrell for your coniinand. We must rub 
out Bull llun, you know, in any action that takes place, and remem- 
ber those guns must never he given up alive." 

It is astonishing how much one can remember, of 
how much he can thinli and resolve upon in an 
incredibly short space of time. I said hurriedly : 
"Mr. Fiske, get some iniantry, quick— I'll fix the 
prolonge," and away he went on his wounded horse 
like the wind. I turned to the piece and there were 
only ** number eight" of the caisson, who had taken 
the place of the wounded gunner, and one cannoneer 
who had his head ducked beside the rim of one of the 
wheels of the carriage, supposing that he was shield- 
ing it from the bullets, but in fact he was doing 
nothing of the sort, for he Avas on the side of the 
wheel exposed to the enemy. 

There was not a man in the company who w\as not 
perfectly familiar w^ith every implement connected 
with the battery, their uses and with the prompt 
adjustment of them to their proper places. "Fix 
prolonge," I ordered. The gunner leaned over the 
trail to disengage the rope, but the cannoneer, hug- 
ging closer to the wheel, turned up his face and 
cried out, *< We don't know how, sir." Spang — 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 27 

spang — the bullets were hitting my mare, and as 
they struck her side they seemed to explode directly 
beneath me. Quick as thought my sword was raised 
over his head, and with all the energy of desperation 

I ordered, "Fix that prolonge, you !*' It 

may seem to have been a strange place for 
the use of profanity: death on every side, the 
black fiend harvesting his victims by thousands, but 
the most appropriate language on such urgent occa- 
sions is that which vvill produce the desired effect. 
Many lives have been lost by the supercilious choice 
of polite language, when, if a little of the right 
kind of emphasis had been thrown in, they would 
have been saved. 

Like lightning the cannoneer sprang to the trail, 
recovering in an instant his lost energies, and 
assisted the gunner in inserting the toggle of the 
prolonge. Just then Lieutenant Fiske returned with 
fifteen or twenty infantrymen, and the piece went to 
the rear amid the cheers of both friend and foe. 
Even our enemies, arose in an unbroken line and 
gave us their cheers. 

This was a severe ordeal for men to go through, 



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28 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY j 

but from the humblest private to the commissioned \ 

officers there was no flinching. The poor private | 

who crouched by the wheel never for a moment \ 

thought of leaving his piece without orders, and his 1 

momentary self-forgetful ness was only what may \ 

happen to the stoutest heart at the very point of j 

some sudden emergency. ] 

My first officer, Lieutenant George C. Harkness, 1 

was absent on sick leave on account of injuries 1 

received during the Second Bull Eun battle ; my | 

second officer was off duty and took no part in the j 

action. I had but two commissioned officers for \ 

duty, both second lieutenants — Lieutenant Stephen i 

W. Fiske and Lieutenant Ezra K. Parker. I had I 

the utmost confidence in Lieutenant Fiske. He had j 

ably seconded m}^ efforts from the day that I assumed . ] 

command of the company, and in every emergency I | 

had found him to be self-sacrificing, prompt and true ' 

as steel. As he came up with those infantrymen and 
relieved us from our perilous position, he seemed to 
me for the moment to be endowed with more than 
human qualities, and I could have embraced him 
there and then in gratitude and admiration. 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 29 

My junior officer, Lieatcnant Pjirker, and I had 
never understood each other, and our rehitions had 
not been of mutual confidence. He had always 
executed his prescribed duties, but it seemed to me 
he did so simply because he was so ordered by his 
superior ofiicer. His position when all the officers 
were present for duty was a trying* one to a man 
possessing pluck, grit and aml)ition. As chief of 
caissons his duty kei)t him in the immediate vicinity 
of the cassions, out of the way of direct harm in 
time of action, and his only responsibility was to 
keep within communicating distance and to see that 
the proper kind and quality of ammunition were 
sent forward as requisitions were made upon him 
from the front. A laggard would have enjoyed the 
position and congratulated himself upon having a 
soft thing, and I was uncertain as to whether or no 
Lieutenant Parker so considered it. 

At Groveton he had executed a difficult order to 
blow^ up a disabled caisson, to prevent its falling 
into the hands of the enemy, under circumstances of 
great danger and personal peril, and at the second 
Bull Eun he had handled his caissons with great 



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30 THE KHODE ISLAND AKTLLEllY * j 

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skill as the ])attciy changed position from one por- j 

lion of the field to another. Durin^^ the march i 

1 
through Maryland he tilled Lieutenant Harkness' | 

place, and he had become more cheerful, apparently I 

taking a decided interest in everything pertaining to | 

the welfare of the command, but I was not prepared \ 

to see such consummate gallantry as he displaj^ed on | 

this occasion. I had always had a doubt as to what j 

his conduct would be should wo get into close quar- I 

ters, but here, in one of the greatest of emergencies, J 

he stood up to the scratch without flinching, and j 

proved beyond question that he was thoroughly reli- | 

able. All his latent energies seemed suddenly to i 

have awakened, and he handled the four pieces with j 

a skill that would have put to blush many an old | 

veteran, and he inspired the men with the same I 

enthusiasm that he evidently felt himself. From | 

that moment forward, I cherished for him the kind- | 

est of feelings, and had the deepest admiration for | 

his pluck and grit. I 

Lieutenant Parker had halted the five pieces some I 

distance to the rear of the position that we had been 

driven from, and thither we repaired with the 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 31 

rescued piece, and halted to stniightcn out matters. 
My poor mare had kept on her feet through all the 
excitement, and she had borne me on her back thus 
far, but she could go no farther. Changing the 
saddle and bridle to the horse of one of the buglers, 
the l)ugler wont to the rear with the equipments of 
his horse on his back. 

Corporal Gray (Charles C) who heartily enjo3'ed 
the excitement of a light, here entered into the 
action on his own account. Four of his " number 
ones" had been picked off by the sharpshooters, and 
ho had got thoroughl}^ mad. Picking up a musket 
and stripping a nearly full cartridge-box from a dead 
body, he lay down and commenced tiring back at the 
men who had inflicted so great loss upon us. His 
position getting rather warm, he rolled up a couple 
of bodies near him for breastworks, and continued 
his lire until his ammunition was exhausted, when he 
rejoined his piece. 

AAHiipple (Benjamin N.), the artificer, came to 
the front here and assumed the duties of a cannoneer, 
acting as "number one." He might have remained 
at the rear with his forge, and there performed all 






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32 THE KIIODE ISLAND AKTILLEKY * 

the duty that could have been expected of him, but 
he was not the man to let his comrades be sorely 
pressed and not lend a helping hand. His braver}^ 
cost him a severe wound across the back of one 
hand, and the loss of one or tvv'o lingers. 

We arranged five pieces in fighting trim and Avent 
into position. Our line near the turnpike had just 
wavered, the field was filled with stragglers, and the 
utmost confusion prevailed. Men were fieeing to the 
rear in every direction, batteries were hastily moving 
in one direction and another, ofiicers were riding 
hither and thither, endeavoring to check the fugi- 
tives, swearing and yelli;ig like all possessed. I 
remember seeing Generals Gibbon and Griffin tear- 
ine: about like mad men, thouo-h there seemed to be 
purpose in their madness. Our line had weakened, 
and if that human tide was not stayed, the day was 
lost. General Gibbon was one of the most accom- 
plished artillery officers in the army, and he saw at a 
glance the crippled condition of Battery D. He 
said: "I see you are badly crippled. Captain, but I 

you must help us out. Go into battery with four 
pieces," but we put in all five. Steadily the men 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 33 ^ *| 



went at their work, and one not aware of the fact 
would never have supposed that they had but just 
emerged from a fire that coukl be compared only to 
hell itself. Discipline asserted its supremacy, how- 
ever, order was established in a few minutes, and 
the rebels were held to the turnpike. 

As soon as confidence appeared to be restored, I 
deemed it prudent to retire, that the men might get 
a breathing spell, so w^e returned to the position that 
we first occupied in the morning. During the short 
sleep that I had the night before, I dreamed that the 
acti'*:i had come on, and that I lost m}^ left leg. I 
was not in the least superstitious, and did not think 
of it until after we returned to the rear, when it 
struck me as a little singular that most of the bullets 
that had hit my mare had passed in front and rear of 
my left leg and close to it. 

While the men were chano^inof horses, ref]:ulatinir 
harnesses and refilling the boxes with ammunition, I 
sat down on the ground, under and against a good- 
sized tree, resting my head and back against its 
trunk. 'Twas then that I thought of the peculiarity 
of this circumstance, and instinctivel}' drew my left 






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34 THE PJIODE ISLAND AETLLERY | 

1 

leg around farther behind tlie tree. I had got into a | 

little doze, when I was awakened suddenl^^ by a shot I 

that must have been sent with a peculiar twist, for it | 

dodged behind the tree I was under and struck the 5 

ground close to that apparently ill-fiited left leg. | 

I gave up my attempt at dozing, but did not lose I 

much, for in a little while the enemy's artillery ] 

opened from the same hill that we had driven it 
from in the morning, and we had the most furious 
cannonade that had taken place up to that time since 
the commencement of the rebellion. A number of 
batteries, either by chance or by orders, had taken 
position both to the right and left of Battery D, and 
every gun belched forth its thunder until the enemy 
ceased his fire, long after dark. When hungr}^ and 
Aveary we lay down that night, our aching frames 
were too tired to admit of sleep, and we had but a 
fitful rest. The morning dawned at last, and we lay 

there all day, expecting to renew the attack any I 

f 
moment, or to be called upon to repel an attack | 

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upon us. The first thing done was to send for our * 

limber that was still on the field where we had left I 

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AT THE BATTLK OF ANTIETx\M. 35 

While waiting and talking with my officers over 
the occurrences of the clay before, an officer came up 
with two or three rebel prisoners under a proper 
guard. The officer halted his charge and saluting, 
-said, "Captain, do you know either of the prison- 
ers?" I scanned their features carefully, in the 
endeavor to recognize the face of some old acquaint- 
ance or friend, thinking that perhaps some old clium 
of my boyhood days or college companion had 
embraced the Southern cause, and having been taken 
a prisoner, desired to make himself and his situation 
known to me, in order to secure gentler treatment 
than he expected ; but I fiiiled. to find a lineament 
in either countenance with which I had ever been 
familiar. 

I told the officer that I did not know either of 
them, and he was about to move on, when one of 
them stooped over and after fumbling a moment or 
so about his trousers' legs, fished from beneath the 
lining of his boot leg a folded piece of paper which 
he held towards me, saying as he did so, " Perhaps, 
Cap'n, you will know this." I unfolded the paper, 
and sure enough I did know it. When we lay at 



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36 



THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 



Fredericksburg a mau by the name of , who 

had been detailed from the Seventh Wisconsin Vol- 
unteers to serve with Battery D, came to me one 
day and asked if I would object if he could manage 
to get detailed upon special duty as a spy. I tried 
to dissuade him from the notion, but he appeared to 
feel that in such service he would be in his true 
sphere and better fultill his mission. A few days 
after, I received an order from " Division Headquar- 
ters" detailing upon special duty, and imme- 
diately after he presented himself with a pass which 
read 



I6eai]( Quarters liuxQ's BMsion. 

Aiigus.t gfJi, 1862. 

to Frcderickshicrg and through all Ihies, on duty for 
these Head Quarters and return. 

By ORDER Gen. King, 

R. CHANDLER, 

A^. >V. G. 

y 

I had supposed that I w^ould never hear from the 
man again, but here was the identical pass that ho 



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AT THE .BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 37 

had shown me before leaving, and I then recognized 
him. The kind of uniform a man is dressed in, has 
a great effect upon his countenance. 

I learned from him that he had either joined or 
was pressed into the rebel army after getting into 
the Confederacy, that he was able to send valuable 
information into our lines several times, and that he 
had contrived to be taken prisoner in order to rejoin 
his command, for he had become heartily sick of 
playing rebel soldier. In consideration of the peril- 
ous duty that he had performed, he was granted a 
furlough and allowed to go home to visit his friends. 

There was considerable speculation among the 
men of the battery as to our execution upon the 
batteries opposed to us the morning and evening of 
the day previous, so some of them asked leave to go 
over to the position those batteries had occupied to 
see what had been the result of our tire upon them. 
On their return they reported that the effect of our 
shot had been all that was intended, for the ground 
was strewn with dead horses, and that a number of 
dead artillerymen were lying there. 

Private Ross (David) , accompanied by a number 



I 



38 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

of men who had been with him to the place, brought 
me a letter that he found protruding from the knap- 
sack of a dead artillerist, which had been sent to 
hira by his wife. It w-as expressive of love, trust 
and confidence, and she was longing for the time to 
arrive when he would return liome. A babe was 
born after he entered the army, and when she fin- 
ished tlie letter in which she had told of the baby's 
cunning wa^^s with all of a young mother's pride, 
she traced the baby's hand on the paper, b}'' laying 
it on the portion unwritten upon and running a 
pencil around it, afterwards inking the lines with 
her pen. Within the hand was wa-itten : " Marth}^ 
Verginia, her hand sent to her paw," and in another 
place : " If you want to kiss the baby you must kiss 
this hand." The situation, the circumstances, the 
surroundings, all served to awaken emotions in the 
strongest and roughest hearts, even though unused 
to tender impulses, and this little hand so lovingly 
traced, reached way down into the stout soldier 
breasts and touched the wellsprings of pity and 
sympathy there, making fountains of the eyes that 
the trembling lids vainly endeavored to conceal. 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 39 

while the quivering lips, more plainly than had they 
spoken in language, revealed the depth of the feel- 
ing that had been excited in their hearts. 

What a subject for a painter — what a theme for 
a poet. The dead soldier lying there on the bare 
ground amid the desolation and havoc of a battle- 
field ; the rent knapsack containing all that had con- 
tributed to his comfort, his pleasure, and solace for 
sacrifice of home ; the letter, upon which was rudely 
traced his infant's hand, bearing in its tiny palm, as 
it were, all that it could of the strong affection 
cherished for and centered in him. 

A group of soldiers gathered around their com- 
manding oflicer — men accustomed only to the rough 
usages and associations of camp, inured to the pri- 
vati6ns, toils and hardships of the march; men 
whose finer qualities of nature, whose tenderest 
impulses, had long since become blunted, dulled or 
almost altogether obliterated by the very nature of 
their duties ; with the wreck of battle, the results 
of bloody carnage surrounding them ; on every side 
and all about them nothing but the evidences of 
hate, revenge and the base qualities of human 






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40 



THE EHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 



nature, made to overflow with emotion as tender, 
pure and sweet as ever displayed by sensitive 
woman. And why? None better than they knew 




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that this was the most precious of the dead soldier's 
keepsakes ; none better than they knew that by the 
camp-fire's dim and flickering light, when all others, 
save the watchful sentries, were supposed to be 



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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 41 

wrapped in slumber, the poor fellow often had taken 
this letter from the knapsack that pillowed his head 
and imprinted a loving kiss upon its page, more for 
the sake of the mother than the child. To them it 
was a symbol of a priceless and holy affection such 
as each knew somebody had for him. They each 
had something just as precious, just as dear, to 
them just as sacred. 

I threw away the letter after cutting out the 
tracinof. It must be borne in mind that throuji^h- 
out the South the common pronunciation of the con- 
traction "pa" for papa, is "paw." 

Thus the day was passed, Iroitering and lagging 
about ; the hospitals were visited to administer com- 
fort and to sympathize with friends and acquaintances 
who had. had the misfortune to receive injuries. 

Cornie Welles (Cornelius Montague Welles), of 
Hartford, Connecticut, an old friend of mine, came 
upon the field and supplied us with some delicacies 
from the stores of the Christian Commission with 
which he was connected, and he also took pains to 
search in the hospitals for the wounded men of 
Battery D, to see that they had good care and 



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42 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTILLERY 

received every comfort that the circumstances would 
admit of. 

On the nineteenth we were ordered to move, and 
our march was over the turnpike that the rebels had 
so persistently held to on the seventeenth. The 
slaughter there had been fearful. The turnpike 
was ver}^ broad, and it must have been literally 
covered with dead men. They had been drawn 
aside from the travelled way, but only so as to 
leave sufficient space for the baggage wagons and 
the artillerj^ to pass along. The entire space on 
either side of the column, between the carriages and 
the fences, or where the fences had been before the 
battle, was crowded with dead bodies, and in very 
many places they were piled one upon another, two 
and three deep. It was a sickening sight, for 
nearly all the faces were of African blackness, hav- 
ing been exposed to the sun since they fell. I do 
not remember how far we moved on the road, but 
so far as we went, the same evidence of the terrific 
struggle that had taken place presented itself. 

When we halted, it was generally known that 
Lee had re-crossed the Potomac and that the great 









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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 43 

battle was over. The enemy was fleeing with shat- 
tered columns, to a great extent barefooted or 
nearly so ; as a resultant, according to all human 
reasoning, dispirited. And it was the universal 
expectation in the army, that we would pursue him 
and strike another blow while he was in a crippled 
condition. Great was the surprise that orders to 
that effect were not received. 

Time disclosed the fact, however, according to 
the official correspondence discovered by the news- 
papers, that the Major-General in command of the 
army learned through his inspectors that the shoes 
of his soldiers required mending before taking another 
long march, and the order was not issued. 

Over thirty thousand men had been killed and 
wounded. Including the missing, the losses 
amounted to nearly forty thousand, and the impor- 
tant advantages that might have been secured, the 
great results that might have been attained, all 
failed to become a tangible reality because, figura- 
tively speaking, the army was not provided with a 
corps of cobblers. 



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44 THE RHODE ISLAND ARTLLERY ! 

Note. — The Providence Daily Journal was far- \ 

nishcd by me with a list of casualties, which I copy : j 

"casualties in battehy d. I 

The following is a correct list of casualties in Battery D at the 1 

late battle of Antietam : | 

KILLED. I 

Private John Galloughly, j 

** John McGoveru, l 

. •• Edward Carroll, I 

" John Hopkins. | 

WOUNDED. I 

Artificer Benjamin N. Whipple, bullet across the back of hand— j 

severe wound. | 

Private Reuben D. Dodge, bullet through the left arm— severe | 

wound. ? 

Private Jeremiah Sullivan, bullet through the shoulder— severe 1 

wound. I 

Private Jeremiah D. Hopkins, bullet through the leg— severe I 

wound. I 

Private Everett Burt, bullet through the leg— severe wound. I 

Private Charles Reed, bullet through the leg— severe wound. ] 

Private Royal W. Ca?sar, ankle injured by cannon ball— severe i , 

wound. I 

MISSING. \ - ■ ' . ■ I 

Private Charles A. Mulick, ' . '■ | 

*• George Bennett, , 3 

Frank A. Potter, , ' \ 

Isaac D. Russell, i 

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AT THE BATTLE OF ANTIETAM. 45 

Private Jacob J. Schmidt, 
•• Duty Eobbins, 
*' Bernard Kilbarn, 
" David Smith, 2d. 
Besides the above there were some fifteen wounded, whose inju- 
ries were slight." 

The newspaper correspondents afterwards reported 
Bennett and Kilbarn in hospital, wounded. 



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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF K VENTS IN TIIK 



•War of the Rebellion 

BEING PAPEUS READ BEEOKE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 17. 



rKOVIDENCE: 
PUBIJSHED I)V THE SOCIETY, 

1886. 



Hr] A 



RELIEF OE 



WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, 



Fifth Rhode Island Yoluiitcers. 



BY 

WILLIAM W. DOUGLAS, 
[Late Captain Fifth Kliode Island Artillery.] 



PKOVJDKNCE: 
rUBLISIIEI) BV THE SOCIETY. 

-1886. 



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EELIEF OF WASHINGTON, NOETH CAEOLINA. 



The organization which became the Fifth Ehode 
IsLand Resiiment was at first a battalion of five coin- 



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panies. 

Though stationed during its term of service at a 
distance from the 2:rand strate^ric movements of the 
armies which directly threatened the strongholds of 
the Confederacy, it was not deprived of the oppor- | 

tunity of doing faithful work in the suppression of | 

the Rebellion. From the nature of its employment | 

it had more than once the opportunity to make as a j 

battalion an individual and peculiar record. | 

Embarking at xVnnapolis on the good ship "Kitty \ 

Simpson," it weathered the storm at Hatteras, and \ 

after lying stranded on the bar at the inlet from j 

noon till four o'clock, was safely wafted by the ris- 1 

ing tide to an anchorage within the roadstead. Then j 

it being impossible to get the "Kitty Simpson" 



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<) RELIEF OF 

over the river-bar, the battalion was placed upon 
the " S. K. Spaulding," the liag-ship of the expedi- 
tion, and with General Burnside led the fleet towards 
Eoanoke Island. Here it had the honor of shed- 
ding the first blood in the person of Corporal Viall, 
who was wounded in a boat reconnoisance the day 
before the battle. ^ '^ 

At Newbern it participated with the Fourth Ehode 
Island in the final charge which started the enemy 
in full retreat, and which made Colonel Rodman, 
who led it, a Briiradier General. 

. i 

Durinor the sies^e of Fort Macon the Fifth, thous^h ■} 

composed onl}^ of five companies, stood its turn in .> 

the trenches with the Fourth Rhode Island and the 
Eighth Connecticut, and had the good fortune to be 
in the advance when the fort surrendered, and 
marched with its colors, just received from home 
and never before unfurled, to plant them on the cap- 
tured walls. 

When in the summer of 1862, Geneml Burnside 
was ordered with Reno's and Park's divisions to the 
Potomac, the Fifth, on account of its numbers, was 
left behind and became part of the Eighteenth Arm}' 















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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. 7 

Corps, to which General John G. Foster was as- 
signed as commander. In August the regiment 
was ordered to Newbern, and encamped just outside 
^ the compact part of the city. 

The regiment took part in the expedition to Golds- 
boro in December, 1862, which was successful in 
cutting the railroad which brought supplies to Rich- 
mond from the heart of the Confederacy, and being 
threatened by troop*3 relieved from General Lee's 
army by Burnside's failure at Fredericksburg, retired 
in good order and without serious loss to Newbern. 
In retaliation for the constant raids with which 
General Foster harassed the enemy. General D. H. 
Hill, on March 14, 1863, the anniversary of its cap- 
ture, made an attack upon Newbern in force. Being 
repulsed at Fort Anderson, he retired and marched 
towards Washington. 

The events which immediately followed gave the 

Fifth Regiment, under its new Colonel, Henry T» 

Sisson, a chance to write the most brilliant page of 

its history. 

r At this time, April, 1863, our forces, under the 

I command of Major-General Foster, held the coast and 



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8 RELIEF OF 

waters of North Carolina. The headquarters of the 
Department were at Xewbern, the richest town in 
the State, situated on the Xeuse river, about ninety 
miles from its mouth, at its junction with the Trent, 
and in former times the depot for shipment north of 
large quantities of turpentine and tar, and some cot- 
ton and tobacco. The city was compactly built, with 
many fine business blocks and private residences. 
^ It had two extensive hotels, one of which was burned 
by the rebels as they left. Here we had built forts 
' and depots of supplies of all sorts, and traders from 
-■ the north had occupied the deserted stores and drove 
a brisk traffic with the troops, and, it was whis- 
pered, also in contraband goods from the interior. 
Beside the forts, which were constructed so as to 
defend the town from an attack by land, a fleet of 
gunboats patrolled the river fronts and made our 
hold upon the the place secure. 

The other permanent posts in our possession in 
the State of Xorth Carolina were Washington, on 
the Tar river, distant from Xewbern by land some 
thirty or forty miles, but by water about one hun- 
dred and fifty, Plymouth, at the head of Albemarle 



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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. if 

Sound, at the mouth of the Eoanoke river, and 
Roanoke Island, all vvnthin the Sounds ; Hatteras 
Inlet, and Fort Macon, which protected Morehead 
City and Beaufort on the sea-shore. 

After the' failure of his attack upon Newbern, 
General Hill next appeared before Plymouth, and 
having first destroyed or captured the small naval 
force stationed in the river by the help of one of 
those formidable iron-clads with which the rebels 
did so much damage when they succeeded in making 
them float, turned the flank of the defenses from the 
water, and finally, after meeting a most gallant 
resistance from General Wessels and his little gar- 
rison, captured the works and made prisoners of the 
survivors. 

I remember how distinctly the northeast wind 
brought to us in Newbern the sound of the heavy 
cannonading, and with what solicitude we waited 
for the news which came at last of the capture of 
Plymouth. 

About the first of April, General Foster learning 
that Washington was to be the next point of Hill's 
attack, determined to meet the danger in person ; so 



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10 llELIEF OF I 

ordering reinforcements to follow, he hastened to the | 

defense and arrived before the cit}^ was invested. 
In his report made to the committee on the conduct > 

of the war he thus describes the situation of allairs : 

"I found the garrison, Forty-fourth Massachusetts Yolunteers, ii 

■■ ■ "' ^ 

Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Yolunteers, one company TJiird | 

New York Artillery, one company Third New York Cavalry, one I 

company First North Carolina Yolunteers, and one company I 

negroes armed, to number about twelve thousand men. Two naval f 

gunboats and one armed transport, all under command of Comman- I 

der K. Eenshaw, were in the river in front of the town. The defen- I 

ses of the town were well adapted to give efficiency to a small gar- ; | 

rison, consisting of a small and strong field work on the key point, I 

with a line of entrenchments surrounding the town, well flanked .■ I 

by the block-houses and redoubts. The supply of rations on hand 
was ample. The enemy's force was a whole corps, estimated to 

number twenty thousand (20,000) men, with fifty pieces of artillery. : | 

•Dispositions to resist an assault Y>'ere immediately made, the Forty- 
fourth Massachusetts manning the line about half way, and the ! 
Twenty-seventh the remainder, the artillery in Fort Washington 
and the cavalry in the town. The men worked willingly and hard 

in strengthening the lines, using shingles from dismantled houses I 

for lack of shovels. Abatis were made, traverses erected, plat- 
forms for guns laid, and a portion of tlie ditches flooded by dam- 
ming the surface drains. All intercourse with the enemy, even by 
flags of truce, was peremptorily interdicted, leaving the enemy in 
imcertanity as to our force." 

"The first three days of hesitancy by Hill in ordering the assault 
were so improved by us that, when ordered, it is reported that 



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WASHINGTON, NOIITH CAROLINA. 11 

the men refused to obey, seeing that we were ready for them, and 
that an assault, even if successful, would cost very dear. Hill then 
decided on a bombardment and siege. Batteries were commenced 
on all the ridges surrounding the town, and on Rodman's Point, 
across the river. This last was our vulnerable point, as it com- 
manded the gunboats in the river and that side of the town." 

After an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the 
ei-temy from Eodman's Point, General Foster antici- 
pating the destruction of the gunboats, fortified a 
small island l^'ing in front of the town, with the 
intention of removing there the ordinance from the 
naval vessels, and so retaining the command of the 
river point. He proceeds as follows ; 

"While this was transpiring, the enemy's siege batteries on the 
land side were completed and armed, and at the end of about a 
week opened with fourteen guns, most of them rifled. Fort 
Washington replied, and the cannonadingthns commenced contin- 
ued with varying intensity for twelve days. The town was trav- 
ersed in different directions by the shot and the lines of defense 
enfdaded, but by means of the protection of traverses, splinter 
proof shelters and bomb proofs, sufficient shelter was afforded and 
very little loss ensued. The consumption of ammunition exhausted 
the supplies at the end of the third day's firing, and its replenish- 
ment became a difficult and serious matter. The fleet of gunboats 
below the Hill's Point Battery were deterred from coming up by 
the obstructions (the buoy to the narrow passage through them 
being removed by the rebels) and by the fire of that battery. 



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12 RELIEF OF 

"The relieving force, three thousand strong, nuder Brigadier- 
General Prince, whicli by my order had arrived in the river in trans- 
ports, was not made effective. To my written order to land and 
take tlie Hill's Point Battery by assault, General Prince returned 
the reply that it was impracticable, and did not even make the 
attempt. Our only way, therefore, to get ammunition was by row- 
boats and small sailboats running the blockade of the enemy's bat- 
teries at night. These fmally had to be armed to enable them to 
force a passage through the enemy's guard boats, placed to inter- 
cept tliem. In this waj' we obtained>t niglit the ammunition for 
the next day's firing, and tlms were enabled to maintain the fire 
from day to day." 

The battery at Hill's Point, about five miles from 
Washington, spoken of by General Foster, was 
placed upon a bluff fifty to seventy-five feet above the 
water, with steep sides towards the river and Blount's 
Creek, which empties into the Pamplico just below 
the Point. Here were mounted twelve guns, 
including two Whitworths. Opposite this was 
Swan Point, where several guns were mounted near 
the water's edge. Across the channel at this point 
had been driven a triple line of piles, strengthened 
by chains and various obstructions. 

At Rodman's Point, directly opposite the town, on 
a level with the bank of the river, were mounted 






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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. 13 

one thirty-two-pounder and eight field guns, one 
a twenty-pound Wliitworth. After we entered 
Washin2:ton we found shot from this i>-un in the bat- 
teries on the further side, where it had ])een thrown 
completely across the town. 

So near were the rel^cl ])atteries to the defenses of 
"Washington, as we found when we had joined Gen- 
eral Foster, that in one of the redoubts the garrison 
ran to seek shelter first behind one parapet and then 
behind the other in turn, as the sentry who was 
posted to give the warning to dodge the enemy's fire, 
cried out ^' Widow Blunt's" or "Kodman's Point." 

To us in Newbern only came the sound of the 
cannonading and rumors of the l)rave defense which 
General Foster and the troojos in Washington were 
making. AVe did not know till afterwards of the 
reinforcements l^'^ing inactive on the transports, or 
of his repeated orders to efiect a diversion for his 
relief. 

On Wednesday, the eighth of April, General 
Palmer, who was left in command of the District of 
Newbern, decided to make an elTort for the relief of 
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14 RELIEF OF 

AYasliington by a land expedition which should attack 
the enemy in the rear, and at the same time cover 
the city of Newbern. So little confidence was felt 
in the success of this measure that the command 
of it was intrusted to a General whose militar}^ repu- 
tation could not be damaged by any event. 

All the troops in the city except the Fifth Ehode 
Island, Forty-fifth Massachusetts, and a few com- 
panies in the various forts, were ordered to join the 
expedition. Immediately after their departure the f 

Fifth and Forty-fifth were assigned places to be " I 

taken in case of attack ])ehind the line of fortifica- 
tions, and when the line was stretched the entire |: 
length of the defenses, each soldier was just within { 
hearinii: of his neis^hbors on the rio-ht and left. It | 
W'as a skirmish line with widely extended intervals. | 

The distrust of the situation wliich filled the minds | 

of the higher ofiicers, and which it was said caused | 

the records and personal baggage of the headquar- / ] 

ters to be placed on board a swift transport with 
steam up, communicated to the body of citizens, | 

sutlers, traders and speculators, produced such a f'' 

panic in the market as would have been joyfully 1 



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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. 15 

hailed by the soldiers if they could have left the 
lines to take advantage of it. 

It was both instructive and amusing to note the 
different effects of the threatened danger upon the 
stoyekeepers whose property was at stake, and the 
soldiers who had onl}^ their lives to lose, and who 
had risked them too often to be overcome by appre- 
hension. 

On the tenth, General Spinola's expedition re- 
turned unsuccessful. They had met the enemy in 
force at Blount's Creek, just below Hill's Point, and 
a few miles from the river, a place strong by the 
nature of the ground, and defended b}^ earthworks 
and artillery. Here Captain Belger, of the Seventh 
Rhode Island Batter}^ was wounded, and after some 
further losses a retreat was ordered and promptly 
executed. 

I have shice understood that previous to this trial 
an attempt had been made to capture the enemy's 
batteries in the Pamplico river, but we heard noth- 
ing of it at the time, and if it were made it was 
entirely without effect. Probably the statement w^as 
based on the orders spoken of by General Poster 



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16 RELIEF OF I 

which were not obeyed. It seemed, therefore, that 1 

General Foster mast be left to his fate, to endure a | 

longer or shorter siege with capture and a rebel pris- \ 

on at the end. I 

But Colonel Sisson, who had recently joined the j 

Fifth, and who was anxious to distin2:uish himself | 

and his command by some daring exploit, called his | 

officers together and proposed to them to volunteer i 

to run by the enemy's batteries and join the beleag- I 

ured garrison with supplies of food and ammunition. | 

The plan seemed a desperate one, but the officers, I 

to a man, agreed with the Colonel that the state of the ^ 

department demanded that its commander should be 
at Newbern to stem the panic, to direct measures of 
defense, and to bring order out of fast-gathering 
confusion. To rescue him at any cost we deemed 
our first duty, and the Colonel's plan was the only 
possible one. So the proposition was made to Gen- 
eral Palmer and accepted, and with sixt}^ rounds of 
ball cartridge and three days' cooked rations we 
were marched on board the " Escort," which lay at 
the wharf. 

General Palmer and Lieutenant-Colonel Hoftman, 



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WASIIIXGTOX, NORTH CAKOLIXA. 17 

Assistant AdjiitiUit-Grciieral on General Foster's 
staft\ accompanied us. There were also on board a 
few stragglers from the company of the North Car- 
olina Re<xiii^ent which was at Wasinsfton. 

The " Escort " was aside-wheel river steamboat, 
similar to those which run on Xarragansett Bay, ex- 
cept that was decked over to the bows. Her regis- 
tered burden was six hundred and seventy-live tons ; 
her length one hundred and eighty-tivc feet, just five 
tons less burden and one foot greater length than the 
"Bay Queen." She had recently been built at Mys- 
tic, Connecticut, and was very fast in smooth water. 
We found on board commodious quarters for our 
three hundred men, and plenty of room for the 
fifteen to twent}' tons of ammunition and half dozen 
barrels of commissary's stores which we were conli- 
dent, would make us welcome at Washington. 

After a night's sail down the turbid current of 
the Xeuse, and over a short distance of the Sound, 
stretching far away towards the low line of sandy 
banks w4iich separate its waters from the ocean, we 
found ourselves at daybreak just entering the Pam- 
plico river, and by the time that the rising sun 



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18 RELIEF OF I 

■J 

showed as the indistinct promontories on its banks i 

all were alert and ea«:er for the first si<>ht of the 1 

enemy's batteries. Bat our surprise was great ' 

when, on rounding Maul's Point, several miles below 
Hill's, we found ourselves in the midst of the gun- 
boat fleet which we had pictured in our. imagination ] 
engaged at close quarters with the rebel works. | 

General Palmer here left us to become the guest J 

of Captain Behm, of the "Southfield," the senior j 

officer of the squadron, and our men who had 
expected to escort him to Washington saw him no 
more. '■ ' ^ ' 

Tliis day (Saturday, eleventh) was spent in load- 
ing bales of hay upon the "Escort," and piling it on 
the upper and lower decks around the machinery 
and boilers, furnishing such protection as we could 
to the vital points of the vessel. 

The pilot-house, like that of most of the transport 
steamers then employed in the Sound, was pro- 
tected from musket shot on the sides by boiler-iron 
plates — and we added a few bales of hay to make it 
more secure. The front was necessarily open, to 
give the pilot a view of his course. 



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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. 19 

The orders were to start at eight o'clock that 
night, but were countermanded by the substitution 
of five o'clock the next morning. For some unex- 
plained reason we did not get underway in the morn- 
ing till eight o'clock. The plan was for the gun- 
boats to engage the battery, allow the "Escort " to 
shoot by, and then to follow us. But we ^vere much 
faster than any of the naval vessels, and a dense fog 
so effectually shut out every object from our sight 
that we had gone a hundred yards beyond the gun- 
boats who were to support us before a gun w\a3 
fired, and without knowing where we were until we 
were apprised of our temerity by a few scattering 
shots from Hill's Point, and by hearing the chain 
cable running: through the hawse-holes of the " South- 
field" as she came to anchor behind us. We 
dropped back to a safe distance from the Point, and 
when the fog cleared up had the pleasure of seeing 
the execution which the l^ig navy guns could do at 
long range. After about an hour's firing they drew 
off and rejoined us. So nothing more was done on 
Sunday in the way of carrying out our object. 
On Monday morning. General Palmer reverted 



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20 RELIEF OF 

again to the idea of landing our force below Hill's 
Point, on the opposite side of the creek, then fording 
it, as it had already been demonstrated to his mind 
by the former expedition that the bridge further up 
could not be carried, then capturing the rebel bat- 
tery and so freeing the river for the navy and trans- 
ports. If we had numbered three thousand, like 
General Prince's command, who had been ordered 
by General Foster to make a similar attempt, the 
plan might have been feasible, but with three hun- 
dred men to assault an almost impregnable position 
well garrisoned and having more than ten thousand 
reserves not more than five miles distant, was one of 
those undertakings that we did not crave to engage 
in. It did not seem to ns to be the thing we had 
come from Newbern to do. 

Hearing that a reconnoissance of the enemy's 
position at and about Hill's Point was to be ordered, 
I obtained permission to command it. I selected 
Lieutenant Dutee Johnson, of Company A, and 
forty men out of the whole regiment, who to ni}'" 
great satisfaction volunteered to accompany me. 
We were transferred to the gunboat "Valley City," 






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"VVASHIITGTON, NOKTII CAROLINA. 21 

Acting Master Brooks, and steamed slowly towards 
the shore. The decks were cleared for action, the 
men at quarters, and my little detachment enjoyed the 
privilege which few landsmen have had, of being on 
board a man-of-war in fighting trim. Occasionally, 
as we sighted a knot of men on the shore, we gave 
them a shot, and the precision with which our guns 
were aimed w^as a delight to the visitors of the Fifth. 
Soon the shore was neared, and taking to the boats 
under cover of the shells of the gunboat, we landed. 
It was ol)viously impossible to land any force on 
the north side of Blount's Creek, and my instruc- 
tions were to ascertain if the creek was fordable 
between its mouth and the bridge. I remained on 
shore nearly all day, carefully exploring the course 
of the stream, and came off again about sunset with 
the information derived from actual soundings that 
the creek could not be forded or crossed in the 
force of any opposition, and so reported to General 
Palmer. I also ascertained from reliable contra- 
bands that there was a camp of about five thousand 
men w^ithin a mile of the opposite bank, and saw 






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22 RELIEF OF 

breastworks lately thrown up, but with no guns 
mounted, ahnost at the water's edge. 

When I carried this information to tlie General 
on board the ''Southlield," he saw that his plan was 
impossible, and sent again for Colonel Sisson. 
When he arrived and asked for orders, General 
Palmer told him that he would «ot order us to run 
the blockade, l)ut would permit us to do so volun- 
tarily if Colonel Sisson would assume the whole 
responsibility. As this was what we had been wait- 
ing to do, our preparations were speedily perfected 
to run b}^ the batteries in the "Escort" in the dark- 
ness of the approaching evening. . •■ 

In order to a[)preciate the risk we were to run, 
you may imagine yourselves starting from Newport 
on the '^ Bay Queen " on a trip to Providence. Place 
upon Nayatt Point a battery of heavy guns, and on 
the shore at Conimicut Point another, both well 
manned by experienced artillerists. Suppose the 
channel to run within point-blank range of the west- 
ern shore, and to be obstructed by a triple line of 
piles driven closely together. Then place a still 
more formidable battery, containing at least one gun 



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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAKOLINA. 23 

capable of throwing a shell three miles with accuracy, 
at Field's Point, and calculate the chances of getting 
by all this and anchoring safel}' at the Continental 
Steamboat Company's Avhaif. Then place on the 
boat fifteen tons of ammunition, and consider that if 
a shell were to explode so as to fire it, there would 
be no boat left, and you would have the last chance 
left you of swimming ashore into the hands of the 
enemy, who, if they did not shoot you in the water, 
would march you to a rebel prison. xVdd to this 
the fact that no one on board knew the channel 
except the pilot, and he had to grope for it without 
a beacon light, in intense darkness, and to have got 
upon the ilats meant sure capture at dayl)reak. "We 
had not either that opportunity to lire back which 
occupies a man's whole attention to the exclusion of 
thoughts of his personal danger in the excitement of 
a battle. We had simply to box ourselves up and 
constitute ourselves a floating target. 1 

Colonel Sisson stowed all the men in the hold of I 

the boat, as near as possible to the. water line, and T 

sent all the officers who were not on special duty | 

into the cabin. Lieutenant-Colonel Tew, Captain | 






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24 RELIEF OF 

Landers, ^yho was the officer of the day, and Captain 
Potter, who commanded a squad of sharpshooters, 
' were entrenclied on deck ; protected partially by the 
bales of ha}-. Colonel Sisson took his station with 
the captain and pilot in the })ilot-house. ' 

At eight o'clock it had become so dark that any 
object but a large white steamboat like the " Escort " 
was invisible at a short distance on the water. I 
had been much fatigued by my tramp on shore and 
the responsibility of my service during the da^^ and 
as soon as we were assigned to our quarters lay 
down upon the cabin floor upon a mattress taken from 
one of the bunks, and was fast asleep when we 
started. I was roused by the flash and report of the 
first gun which announced that we were in range of 
Hill's Point Battery. 

The flash illuminated the cabin, and the concussion 
of the air sounded to us below like the crash of a 
shot. We all thought the boat was struck, and 
expected every moment to be wounded by flying 
splinters. Instantly I was wide awake, and in the 
total darkness which followed, for all lights on board 
had been extinguished, I listened for and felt the 












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WASHINGTON, NOKTH CAROLINA. 25 

progress we were making. After the first discharge 
I felt the boat go forward with tremendous speed, 
then stop, and again slowly press forward. This 
was the passage of the line of piles abreast of the 
battery. The boat forced a passage through, and 
again we were in rapid motion. But sudctenl}^ I 
felt the keel grate on the l)ottom, and we were 
aground in full range of the rilled guns aimed at our 
lives. To add to the horror of the situation, we 
supposed from the concussion of the air that every 
shot of the iron sho^ver struck the boat. Quick as 
lightning the guns followed each other, and the 
flashes showed us each others' faces anxious but 
determined. But the moment was too desparate to 
weigh chances, and putting on extra steam, forcing 
the furnaces to their full capacity, preferring to blow 
up by that means, if it must be so, rather than to be 
wrecked by some shell falling into our ammunition, 
we gradually push through the mud and are again 
in deep water, hurrying away from our first danger. 
We had taken the Hill's Point Battery unawares, 
and were not discovered till almost al)reast of it ; but 

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26 RELIEF OF 

Ave could not hope that Kodman's Point would be un- 
prepared. The heavy lirhig below would bring the 
garrison to their guns, prepared to receive us warml3^ 
But we had not come thus far to retreat. Indeed, 
we had no choice — the daniier in either direction was 
equal. Riflemen now assailed us from every prom- 
inent position on the river's bank, but their missiles 
could do us little liarm, and cono^ratulatino; ourselves 
that we were yet uninjured, Ave hastened to the 
upper batter}^ Soon the heavy firing, the flashes, 
and the thuds of the shot, nearer and more rapid 
than before, told us that we were under the last Are, 
and thus passing the last mile, as it seemed in a few 
minutes, we stopped again. 

The Chaplain's voice at the companion-way, and 
the music of the Forty-fourth Regiment Band, hailed 
our arrival at the wharf at Little Washington. 
Scarcely realizing our own safety, and each amazed 
at the safety of the rest, we formed in line and left 
the good boat which, with the loss of a trifling piece 
of her machinery, had borne us well l)y the fruitless 
eflforts of the rebel artillery. 

Our arrival was equivalent to a reinforcement of f | 



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WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. 27 

ten times our num1)ei' to the weaiy garrison, and the 
success of our efforts inspired them with fresh con- 
fidence. We were most warmly received by the 
Forty-fourtli, whose brief term of enlistment had 
been marked by as faithful service and more varied 
incident than many a three years' regiment. They 
welcomed us to their quarters and olfered us the 
best of their reserved stores. 

The next morning we took our position in the 
fortifications and renewed with fresh energy the 
work we had learned in the trenches before Fort 
Macon. 

The second day after, the rebels, not knowing 
how few men had broken through the blockade, and 
feeling that it was no longer eficctual, withdrew 
their forces and joined the army which was to hum- 
ble the prowess of our valiant men under Hooker 
at Ohancellorsville. 

The mornino' after our arrival I was called to 
General Foster's headquarters, and in answer to his 
questions gave him an account of the condition of 
afiairs in Xewbern, and that day embarking on the 
"Escort " he ran down past the batteries in broad 






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28 RFXIEF OF WASHINGTON, N. C. 



daylight. In this trip the pilot wus killed by a mus- 
ket hall, and seven or eight of the crew were killed 
and wounded, but the boat seemed to have a charmed 
life and carried him safely to Newborn, where, organ- 
izing his forces, he started at once to attack the 
besiegers. But as I have said, they had given up 
the siege, and he only succeeded in engaging their 
rear guard, and then returned to Xewbcrn. 

The gratitude of the Forty-fourth ^Massachusetts 
for our timel}^ succor was shown by the presentation 
by them to tlie Fifth of an elegant banner with the 
arms of the two States gracefully combined upon it, 
and an appropriate inscription commemorating the 
occasion of the gift. They also gave to Colonel 
Sisson, as a mark of their appreciation of his action, 
a service of plate and a sword, sash and belt. 

The AVar Deportment were pleased to recognize 
the exploit by changing the regiment from infantry'' 
to artillery, thinking that men who were not to be f 

killed by heavy guns would do good service behind J 

them; and after this promotion en tnasse the subse- ; i 

quent service of the Fifth justified the exceptional I 

honor. 



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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF KVKNTS IX TlUC 



War of the Rebellion 



BEING PAPKKS UKAl) BKKOKK JHK 



'iy' s }y 



RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 18. 



PKOVIDEXCE : 
PUBLISJIKI) IJy THE SOCIETY. 

188C. 



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A PRIVATE'S REMINISCENCES 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



E. T3ENJAMIN ANDREWS, 

[Coini>;iny C, Fourtli ("onnocticut Intuiitiy, subsequently tlie 

First Connecticut Heavy Artilli.'ry.] 



PKOVJDENCK: 

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A PRIVATE'S REMINISCENCES OF THE FIRST 
YEAR OF THE WAR. 



It is a common remark that we of to-day are too 
near the hist war to write of it with phlegm and 
candor. This is mostly a piece of cant. No mat- 
ter in what sense you take the word history, there 
is much of the history of the war that can be writ- 
ten better now than ever hereafter. There is much 
of it, in fact, that will never be written at all if it 
is not soon. Preeminently is this the case regard- 
ing those odd details, curious happenings, funny 
experiences, those indescribable scenes of camp, 
march and drill, which form the densest and most 
picturesque spots in every soldier's memory of the 
war. I refer to the matters with which most of 
our earl}^ letters home from the camp were taken up. 
They became so antiquated before we got out of ser- 
vice, and other more weighty, more serious, less 



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b A PKI VAXES KEMINISCENCES. | 

comical things came to occup}^ our attention, that 1 

these Uidicrous sides of military life have with I 

man}" passed hirgely out of remark. Those also i 

who went out as recruits into well-oroanized reo-i- 
ments became soldiers with fewer of the stumbling j 

and grotesque approaches by which the campaigners j 

of earl}' '61 attained to that degreed : ; / , - ^ | 

In this aspect of its history, the tirst is the most | 

interesting year in all the war, Kare were the men I 

who, when the drums lirst beat to arms, knew what I 

arms meant. My regiment, the Fourth Connecticut | 

[after October, 1861, the First Connecticut Heavy j 

Artillery], taking the oath to the United States on \ 

jNlay 22, 1861, was, so lar as I have ever learned, I 

the earliest volunteer regiment to be mustered in \ 

for three years. We had been already enlisted for 
some time as three months' men before the call for 
a three years' contingent came ; and so hot was our 
patriotic zeal, that we instantly subscribed again 
for the longer term. ^ * ■ ; ■ " ^ ^ 

The imagination of youth is specially active, and : 
because I was then so young, 1 may perhaps re- 
tain in memory better than some of my older com- 



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FIRST YEAH OF THE WAR. 7 

rades, the notions, the expectutions, the theories, 
with which they and I enlisted. One of our fixed 
ideas was that a single Yankee could whip five reb- 
els with the utmost ease. Some placed the number 
as high as twelve ; but I think that any man in my 
company venturing incredulity as to our ability easily 
to vanquish the rebels in the ratio of five of them to 
one of ourselves, would have been summarily ejected 
from the company. Like Gideon of old, we wanted 
no faint hearts in our band. 

As part of the same delusion, men used to sug- 
gest, not wholly in fun, that our regiment, or at 
any rate the troops from Connecticut, should take 
the contract of thrashing the rebels for so many 
thousand dollars, the job to be completed, insi)ected 
and passed upon by competent European commis- 
sioners, not later than the end of July, or no charge 
at all to be made. 

Quite as laughable were the pictures we drew to 
ourselves of the manner in which we were to make 
the campaign. When I enlisted, and for some days 
thereafter, I fully expected to carry a trunk with 
me, and a connnodious number of changes of rai- 



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ment ; on finding which impossible, I felt us down- \ 

cast as did the hundred days' man whom I met at | 

Bermuda Hundred in 'G4, who, being just out fi-om \ 

Ohio, hadn't had any pie or any l)utter for his l)read \ 

since leaving Fortress Monroe. How, too, we \ 

loaded ourselves with pistols, bowie-knives, and a \ 

whole lot of other furniture that was, we thought, j 

i 

going to be handy when we got down South. One I 

might be called upon to clinch with a rebel. The | 

rebel would, of course, be the under dog, but might 
notjet you up, you know. How convenient to reach 
round behind }'0U, draw your bowie-knife and coax 
him to relax his grip ! , One very devout soldier car- 
ried his family bible. The knapsack that tugged at 
my wretched shoulders when we left Hartford for the 
front on June tenth, of 'Gl, would have made a camel 
pant, containing wares enough to have stocked a 
country store. This lugging about of Egyptian 
pyramids upon our backs we soon alxmdoned, as we 
did the bowie-knives and pistols. One man in our 
company, however, never marched with less than 
sixty or seventy pounds in his knapsack, to the end { 

of the war. His callin<r before had been that of a I 



J 



FIllST YEAli OF THE WAIl. ii 

pack-pedbir, iiiid he said he experienced a certain 
diiliculty in not falling forward on his face, unless he 
had about the okl load strapped behind. 

' Alas, the knapsack was but one among our bur- 
dens that dreadful day on which we set ibrth for the 
vvar. Such uniforms as we writhed under ! 1 per- 
spire at thought of them now, after the lapse of a 
quarter of a century. As the United States Gov- 
ernment was unable to provide us in this respect, the 
excellent Governor Biickinoham, of Connecticut, had 
assumed to do it. He, good man, had rigged us out 
with suits of the thickest sort of gray woolen, made, 
one would have thought, especiall}^ for midwinter 
wear in Greenland. There were heavy gray felt 
hats to match. We had no blouses. The coats 
were short, Avithout skirts ; the pants of so generous 
girth that if any hero, beating perchance a hasty re- 
treat, should have I he misfortune to lose his knap- 
sack, he might not be destitute of a good place to 
bestow his blanket. Some of the trousers were 
three inches too long; some nearl}^ as much too 
short. The average coat, too, had a considerable 
surplus of circumfei'cnce. \\'sts theie were noni' ; 



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10 A rillVATE's KEMINISCENCKS. 

tor which hick, coarse, heavy, gray ihinncl shirts, 
with the redundant longitude of the trousers, were 
expected to make amends. 

We had cartridge-boxes, haversacks, canteens and 
okl-fashioned Springfiekl nuiskets. Not being grad- 
ujites of a Turveydrop Academy, we liad little taste in 
a]Tano:ini2: this uear when we came to don it. Here 
would be a tall man with the straps for those utensils 
so short as to bring his canteen, haversack and car- 
tridge-box well up under his arms, the first two on 
one side, the cartridge-box on the other ; yonder a 
little five-footer would go ''hepp," "hepp," ''hepp," 
along, with those same indispensable appurtenances j 

Hopping half way to his heels. Some had their | 

overcoats strapped neatly and compactly plumb on j 

the top of their knapsacks ; others fastened them | 

on in so dowdy a way as to suggest that they meant | 

the very frightfulness of their appearance to drive I 

back the foe, on the principle which Sidney Smith 1 

must refer to Avhen he mentions a man the mere look 1 

of whose face was a l)reach of the peace, he was so 1 

homely. I 

And then what inimitable marching ! ]\Iy company ] 



( ■.'. . no 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 11 

was 4ibout equally divided at first between the men 
who could keep no time at all, those who could 
keep some time but not much, and those who could 
keep a good deal of time if each were permitted to 
do it in his own way. In a word, it took a long 
while for us to become strong in rhythm. Our first 
marked improvement appeared at the moment when 
we mastered the trick of bringing down our left feet 
all together, responding to the "hei)p," "hepp," 
"hepp," of the drill-master, letting the right feet 
take care of themselves. When we could do that, 
we felt that war was indeed a fine art and we fine 
artists. Ah, we found there were perfections not 
yet attained ! The next stage of advance was when 
the right feet all struck the earth together, or at any 
rate a great majority of them, but not midway of 
the interval between two percussions with the left. 
Beyond this none but the men of genius went, till 
some time after Bull Run ; and one at least of those 
my valorous comrades never could, to the last, learn 
any other than the go-as-you-please step. The sub- 
limity of this case lay in the fact that the man did 
not pretend to march accurately. Another fellow 



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12 A privatk's keminiscp:nces. 

among us Jilmost nevor liad the stc}), but alwa^^s, ii' 
corrected, swore — Athanasius against the world — 
that he and he alone had it. ^[arching thus out of 
time once behind luc, and treading on my heels each 
pace, he threatened in language I will not repeat, to 
report me to the captain for not keeping step. I. 
called his attention to the obvious fact that the great 
majority had the same step as 1. He said he didn't 
give a damn for majorities — and he was riglit. 

But to go l)ack and dwell on those uniforms, and 
to tell you how in those days we had to dwell in 
those uniforms ! As we w^ore them from Hartford, | 

how new they looked ! Alas, too soon they began | 

to assume a dill'erent face ! Seven days each week | 

we had to wx^ar them; often, on guard for instance, 
at night as well. They grew^ dirty. That was not 
the worst. Eei)airs became necessary, and facilities 

for ellective repairs there were none. One by one | 

those noble garments gave way. Xo new^ ones were 
to be had. A hat being lost, one could indeed buy 
a cheap Zouave chapeau ironi the sutler if one had j 

money. Let a coat wear out, its ownei* had no re- * 

source but to go in shirt-sleeves by day, in his over- 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 13 

coat by night. At Cbambersburg, at Ilagerstown 
and Williamsport, even at Fredeiick, our uniforms 
remaiHcd fairly presentable ; l)ut ])y the time we 
reached Darnestown, Maryland, in xiugust or Sep- 
tember of '61, we were a sight to bcliold. Could we 
have been manifested to the rebel army at that time, I 
am sure that Bull linn would have ])een avenged and 
that Beauregard and his braves would have fallen 
back in dismay. 

Let me attempt to describe to you what, by way 
of euphemism and witli extraordinary and dangerous 
strain upon language, we called our 'Ulress parade" 
at this period. One man in ten was barefoot. Some 
were bareheaded. Many Avore red skull-caps, in 
such queer contrast with the majority, avIio still re- 
tained, limp, faded and dirty, the majestic old som- 
breros we had received from Governor Buckingham. 
Not a few in the regiment had become verita])le sans 
culottes, and must needs march to the parade-ground 
in their drav^^ers. Hardly a uniform in the entire 
line was whole or clean. 

How vividly I remem1)er a conversation that I 
overheard one evening, at a well whither I had gone, 



14 A pkiyate's keminiscenoes. 

some distance from our own camp, to replenish my 
canteen for a night of guard duty ! It was at the 
close of a day on which the entire Division under 
General Banks had been on review, and my regiment 
had been, if I do say it, the observed of all ob- 
servers. The speaker was a Pennsylvanian. "I say, 
Bill," said he to his companion, "did yer see that 
rigiment in gray, half on 'em bareheaded or bare- 
footed and kinder lookin 'zef they'd ben on a forced 
march like?" "'Deed, did I," said the other; "them 
uz a sorry lookin' set, durned if ihoy want." "They's 
the fellers wot kin fight tho," rejoined the first 
speaker. "You bet," said the second; "they done 
ben to Bull Eun, them fellers, 'n that's wot ails 1 

ther rig." "" ^ | 

This complimentary critic was in error. We had I 

not seen Bull Run. During that battle we were 
back under Patterson at ]\Iartinsburg and Williams- 
port. Yet when I think of the state of our clothing 
at this time, I do not wonder that the Pennsylvanian 
mistook us for veteran campaigners. Not worse clad 
were the wretches who followed Napoleon back from 
Borodino and ^loscow. I have not told you the 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 15 

worst about our experience with that clothing. Nor 
can I. Suffice it to remark that when, a month 
later, we got new apparel, every soldier, as he cast 
each of his old rags away forever, could have said, 
in tlie language often used to puff a new business 
enterprise, only with far more truth, *' there's mil- 
lions in it." 

Striking memories come back to me touching the 
commissary's department and its administration that 
summer of the opening Avar. We got our fu'st gov- 
ernment rations at Chaml)ersburg, Pennsylvania. 
The beef barrels and bread boxes were marked 
"B. C." ; and, in the well-known language of Bret 
Harte, " I would not deny in respect to the same what 
that name might imply." Certainly that food could 
not have been put up since the Mexican war. The 
beef, if such it was, consisted of so man}^ parcels 
and packs of leather shoe-strings. The hard-bread it 
required hammers, axes and stones to break. Soak- 
ing it over night in water merely altered the form of 
the difficult}^ giving the material the consistency of 
sole-leather. The only mode of preparation by 
which the crackers could be made edible was to 



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16 A private's eeminiscences. 

break them iuto scraps with a heavy hammer, soak 

them twelve hours in water, ajid then fry theixi in 1 

hot fat. It was hardly a Delmonico dish after all, 1 

but a taste was not sure death. Those biscuits were i 

round, and of the size of a dinner-plate, and I speak 

the truth when I tell you that I have seen toy | 

wagons made of them, wheels, axles and all, that j 

-I 
would bear up a man. This antediluvian fodder 

fortunately lasted l)ut a few months ; and when Ave 

got new hard-tack, baked the same year, it was so 

soft and so sweet, Ave thought Old Abe had con-, 

eluded to sup})ly the army Avith soda-crackers. In \ 

one respect, it is upon my conscience to confess, the i 

old rock Avas ])etter eating than the new, — it was \ 

alwa^^s azoic, and the new Avasn't. 1 

During the azoic period avc got on more happily j 

with the bread than Avith the beef. For not to speak \ 

of the doubts man}^ of us had Avhethcr it Avas beef | 

at all, or of the numerous theories of those in the 1 

company Avho allowed doubt upon this point to de- i 

velop itself in their minds to an extreme, in one \ 

particular no one Avas vexed with the slightest skep- ^ 

ticism, namely, that it was tough. AVe Avere not, 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 17 

however, without resources. The fortune of war had 
sent us into a land, if not exactl}^ flowing with milii 
and honey, at any rate overflowing [if you will 
pardon the metaphor] with youthful swine. Since 
England had recognized the secessionists as belliger- 
ents, w^hy should not w-e? AVe did, and further, .not 
being deeply read in international law, we inclined 
with such light as we had to adopt as sound the 
doctrine of "occasional contraband." Occasionally, 
therefore, we viewed pigs as contraband, and pro- 
ceeded as lo3"al executives to confiscate. Fresh pork 
tasted better than the flesh General Scott had brought 
home from Mexico. What if we sometimes hap- 
pened to select a loyal pig ! We did it because we } 
loved him. One of Colonel ]\IcClure's gruntcrs fell j 
a victim to our bayonets at Chambersburg on a cer- j 
tain line morning, ^Ve were very sorry, but we | 
were very hungry. > 
Once, when my company was marching from AA'il- \ 
liamsport to Martinsburg as convoy to one of Gen- I 
eral Patterson's w^agon-lrains, my comrade shot a .. j 
fine fat porker suitable for a good supper to the ■ 
entire gang of us. I was deputed to aid him in 



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18 A private's reminiscences. 



dressing it. Deftl}- and all unbeknown to the offi- 
cers, we loaded the carcass into one of the cc jred 
wagons, where, on the top of the barrels which 
formed the load, bending over, in spite of the jolting, 
as the ponderous vehicle rolled on, we performed our 
diflicult task. At ]Martinsburi.>- ])eino- obliged to fall 
in and march to our camp with the rest of the com- 
pany, we consigned the precious plunder to the 
company drummer, with orders to deliver it at the 
cook's quarters so soon as possible. lie met a man 
who oliered him money for it, our precious booty was 
sold, and we with it, having our labor for our pains. | 

Speaking of the cook's quarters, I am reminded | 

of two immortal individuals who at ditferent times J 

presided there. One was a colored man Avhom Ave 
picked up in Maryland. He was bright and intcUi- j 

gent, though he could not read, and was, of course, 
distressingly ignorant. Of his ignorance, however, 
he was serenely unconscious, and launched into dis- 
cussion upon any topic of family, church or state 
with as much contidcnce and i>:usto as Castlereaoh or 
]\Ietternich could have shown. He had been in Vir- 
ginia, and had heard of Xew York and Pennsylvania. 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 19 

These, with Maryland, he used to assert were all the 
states there were. The fellows assured him there 
was another, the state of INIatrimony, Avhich he em- 
phatically denied, ascribing the mistake charitably 
to lack of information on their part. This colored 
cook of ours had a pretty wife, who occasionally 
visited the camp to see him. He professed and 
manifested for her the greatest affection ; yet on 
being asked if he did not fear he would lose her 
when we advanced into Virginia, he replied : "'Deed 
I isn't 'feared o' nuf'm. Dc Lor' hain dun sot aH de 
hansum gals in Ole Ma'lun. Dey's sum mo' down 
in Virginny sho's yo bawn, dey is. Ef yo gwine 
ter 'vance inter Yir£?innv, Ole ]Ma'lun sartin fer ter 
lose dis yere niggah, wife er no wife." 

Our other ever memorable cook was a soldier from 
our own ranks. I shall always regard him as abso- 
lutely the most remarkable personage in the entire 
Iiistor}^ of man. It was not, I admit, his genius 
about the cuisine which entitled him to this eminence ; 
it was certain rarer and liner qualities. Among 
these was his good nature. Tastes ditlcr, even upon j 

coffee. Two men one morning had dipped and ! 



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20 A private's reminiscences. I 

sipped from precisely the same boiler of this. \ 

One returned presently for some more. "Frisbee," \ 

said he, "that's superb ; it's the best coffee we'v^ had \ 

this 3^ear." "That's so," answered Frisbee, "I took j 

er heap o' pains with that coffee ; it oughter be j 

good." Soon came the other, — "Frisbee, your cof- | 

fee is infernal ; it isn't lit for bilge-water this morn- j 

ing. jSIakc an}^ more such and I'll drown you in it." 
"Wal," said the imperturbable Frisbee, "that's so, 
'tis mighty pore this time somehow, ye know ye 
can't alters git it jest right." That marvelous art of 
agreeing with everybody ! Our Frisbee 4iad it in 
perfection. He was a man of expedients, too. Often i 

have I seen him, when the coflee in the boiler was 1 

running low before all had been supplied, seize a f 

bucket, liU it Avith cold water from the tank and | 

dash it in. If any one then complained of the thus I 

diluted stuff, Frisl)ee was always ready with some \ 

plausible theory, as that he couldn't get the fire to 
go, or that he believed the coflee was in some way 
losing strength, or that the army contractors were 
11 set of rascals anyhow. 

Frisbee had not very many faults. The only ones 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 21 

I can readily recall were swearing, gambliiig, lying, 
drinking, stealing and speaking evil of the orderly 
sergeant ; but in these few, I feel constrained to 
testify, he was an adept and did not do things by 
halves. In drinking, however, we had one man who 
was more than a match for Frisbee. It was Bill 
Pilkington. He avowed that he did not care for the 
quality of the whiskey if it would only make the 
drunk come, and that he never allowed an opportu- 
nity for getting drunk to pass unimproved. I could 
take oath that during my acquaintance with him this 
was strictl}^ true. 

I turn now, with martial ardor, from quartermas- 
ter's and connnissary's allairs to the more serious 
business of drill, discipline and war. I have re- 
marked how hard we found it always to march in the 
same step. This was about the lightest of our ditfi- 
culties. Those of us in the rear rank when the 
marching was to the front, — how prone we were to 
allow more than the regulation thirteen inches be- 
tween ourselves and our fde leaders ! Each wanted 
to see his fde leader's feet, for some reason or other, 
and thev were not invisible to the naked eve, with 



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22 A TRIVATP^'S REMINISCENCES. i 

army shoes on. Facing was not the easiest thing to I 

master, and not infrequently two soldiers, after a ! 

i 

command "right ftice" or "left face," would be found j 

hotly contending for the same spot to place their foet \ 

upon, in the spirit of "Stand, the ground's your own, I 

my braves," an imbroglio oRen leading to blows, l 

and to be decided only by the official count, "one, V: I 

two, one, two," etc., down the line. But wheeling | 

required still a higher order of genius than facing, . j 

intricate as the latter was. ^ly captain, with that j 

coolheadedness in terrible crises which has character- | 

ized all the great masters of the art of war from - 

Ramses II. down to Lord Wolsey, whenever-we were 
about to attempt a left wheel, used to caution us; 
"Now, boys, all look to the right and glance to the 
left." The few learned fellows aniono; us w^ho had 
read Hardee's Tactics had a theory that the captain 
was ignorant and should sa}-, instead of "look to the 
right and glance to the left," "look to the right and 
touch to the left," and that obedience to the captain's I 

form of the order was obviously impossil)le. The ;. . 4 

cross-eyed man in the company, generous-natured | 

soul, stood up for the captain nobly. He said that 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 23 

what those scholastic philosophers maintained might 
be true in theory but was false in practice, for he 
had proved that the order as given by the captain 
could be carried out with the utmost ease. But 
when a line officer, on one occasion, putting the reg- 
iment through the maiuial, undertook to briirg us to 
a "ground arms" directly from a "shoulder arms," 
Avithout any " order arms " between, the cross-eyed 
man was compelled to admit with tears that an error 
had l)ecn committed. 

My company was at once l^lessed and cursed with 
Pat Lilly, who had served five years in the regular 
army, and knew the tactics as he knew his name. 
He was very tall, moreover, and graced the right of 
the front rank. I stood in that vicinity myself, and 
often have I heard the officer commandins: the com- 
pany on regimental drill lean over to Lilly, and in 
whisper ask: "Pat, Pat, Avhat's the next order to 
give?" 

But Lilly knew the wicked as well as the good 
ways of war. One night at Williamsport, when 
Jackson, then soon to become Stonewall Jackson, 
was just across the Potomac from us, and we there- 



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24 A private's reminiscences. 

fore had orders to keep the strictest watch, Lilly 
heard the officer of the guard olFeriiig to bet a gallon 
of whiskey that no live man could run the guard. 
Lilly took that bet. He won it, too, in spite of the 
new and stricter orders which the officer hurried 
around to give, to shoot down any man passing the 
guard without the countersign. Lilly effected his ob- 
ject in this way. Getting as near the guard-line as he 
dared, at a point where two sentry-beats met, he la}^ 
down and pretended to be in dying agony with the 
colic. Having lain and moaned until apparently 
easier, the sentinels presently thought him asleep, 
when, as they were farthest apart, quicker than 
lightning he darted across the line, over tjie fence 
into the cornfield adjoining, and dropped flat upon 
the ground. Pop, pop, went the sentinels' muskets, 
but of course without harm to Lilly, who then got 
up and taking a circuit around, presented himself at 
the guard-quarters for his whiskey, which you may 
be sure he did not pour upon the ground. 

The same Lilly, on another occasion, left his quar- ^ 

ters in the night, stole horses from the wagon-camp, | 

got a teamster to follow him as orderly, managed to | 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 25 

find out the countersign in some waj^ and rode the 
circuit of the entire brigade in tlie character of field 
oflicerof the day, turning out and inspecting guards, 
giving directions to colonels and making a fool of 
everybody. 

We first heard the dreadful name of Jackson the 
very night we arrived in Ilagcrstown , Maryland, from 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. It was past midnight, 
perhaps between two and three in the morning, when ^ -; 
the long roll of the regimental drum corps startled 
the still air of our new camp. The rebels, it was 
said, led by Jackson, were crossing at AVilliamsport 
in force, and we, perhaps the only bulwark between 
them and the nation's life — we six miles away! -It 
was a time to try men's souls and men's patience. ! 

AVhat a scramble for cartridge-boxes, pistols and | 

dirks, — for the pistol and l)owie-knife era was still 1 

upon us ! The officers bade us be calm, but they I 

needed the advice not less imperatively than we. \, 

At last we had formed line, and the Colonel, on the ! 

ground probably that more battles are won by march- \ 

ing than by fighting, started us, raw levies, with six I 

long miles and probably a battle before us, off on a | 

3 ^ i 



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26 A PKIVATE'S RESnNISCENCES. j 

1 

double quick. We ran a mile, pufliDg, sweating, 1 

straining our eyes to see that foe we so longed to j 

annihilate. "Halt!" What for? AVhy, the line i 

officers have held a council of war while trotting 

alons: upon their horses, and have concluded that if 

we are to tight it may be well to have our muskets | 

loaded. No one had thouHit of it before. AV'e had I 

supposed that our brave Colonel, in whose skill as a | 

tactician Ave had the most unhesitating confidence, | 

intended on meeting Jackson, to charge with the 

bayonet? We conclude that he now alters his mind. 

At all events he commands to 'Hoad." But we have 

had no instructions in loading. Which end of the 

cartridixe shall ij-o downwards? About a third of the - I 

men, reasoning ajrrwri that the bullet was the mtiin | 

thing, put it in first. A good number of those who | 

did not do this, failed to tear the cartridge paper. 

Several put two or three cartridges in ; some even 

more. It was the work of a week to empty those 

muskets. Havinc: loaded and breathed, wx' beoan 

the race again. The sun rose. Was it the sun of | 

Austerlitz? It was as bright and as hot. Men- fell | 

from the ranks. Some fainted pliysically, others in | 



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riRST YEAK OF THE WAR. 27 

heart. Some wanted to go home. Perhaps a tenth 
of the regiment reached Williamsport together ; the 
rest came straggling in all the rest of the day. Xo 
enemy was there, the more's the pity for the enemy, 
for a brave dozen of cavah-ymen could have cap- 
tured the whole of us. However, Jackson fell back 
toward ]Martins1)urg, and we flattered ourselves with 
the hypothesis that he had heard of our advance and 
considered discretion the better part of valor. 

While our camp was at Williamsport, we had 
some of the most ludicrous experiences imaginable. 
Our chief occupation was that to which I have 
already alluded, of convoying General Patterson's 
wagon trains to JMartinsburg. The road lay through 
Virginia ; Virginia had then seceded, and we had 
the idea that it was a part of our duty as Uiiion 
soldiers to arrest for treason, as far as we could, all 
who had voted for secession. Patriotic to the core, 
we tlierefoie made this our main business on each 
return trip from ^Nlartinsburg. Partly the number- 
less family feuds of the neighborhood and partly a 
desire to fool us, brought out plenty of professed 
informers. Every little way along the road we 



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28 A private's reminiscences. 

would be met by parties Jissuring as that at such or | 

i 
such a house a secessionist lived. We used to break j 

up into little squads to go and arrest such. In one j 

house we were told that a lot of arms had. been gatli- i 

ered for use on the Southern side, and that men had 

i 

assembled there resolved to use and defend these I 

arms, if need be, to tlie death. My company be- 1 

sought the lieutenant commanding us that day to let 1 

us storm that re1)el castle. We threw out flankers j . 

and advanced. Approaching the house, we had to I 

ford a deep stream, and supposed that our foe was j 

reserving his fire till he could take us in mid-current. | 

We charged through. We raced up the bank, ^^"e | 

surrounded that house. Xever did Wellington win | 

a completer victory. We had our fortress in our 
power without firing or receiving a shot ! Not to 
have been lired at at all rather non-plussed'us. Had 
the enemy concluded we were resistless and that his 
only course was to surrender at discretion? AVe 
must force our way into the house and ascertain. A 
forlorn hope was called for, — men ready to take 
their lives in their hands for this great emergency. 



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FIRST YEAH OF THE WAR. 



29 



" Theirs not to make reply ; 
Theirs not to reason ^vlly ; 
Theirs but to do and die," 

if necessary. They muster ; they rush for tlie door ; 
no shot ; a tottering old gray-beard of seventy-five 
opens; he is the only man there. "Are there any 
arms in this house?" "I reckon ther mout be." 
"What and where are they?" "Dunno zackly, mis- 
ter; wese gut an ole rewolver summer round yere, 
but durned ef I seener this six monts." The old 
man tohl the trutli. We searched the })remises com- 
pletely with his undoubtedly genuine aid, and found 
not the tirst sign of warlike stoves save the lonely, 
empty revolver. . 

We had been victimized, but we must magnify 
our office as Union soldiers. "Did you vote for se- 
cession, old man?" "'Deed did I," was the prompt 
response. "Then you nmst go with us to camp," 
said our officer ; and we had the elfrontery to march 
that poor old victim ten miles with us to Williams- 
port, and put him in prison there. We noticed that 
as we marched, he kept step with us. Some of my 
most zealous compatriots inferred from this that lie 






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30 A private's reminiscences. 

had been drilling for service in Jackson's force, nnd 
were for blowing his brains out on the spot. He 
was saved b}^ the insistence of the cooler ones, that 
the law should take its course. Should we, who had 
enlisted to enforce law, give the example of tramp- 
ling on law ? God forbid ! The jail at Williamsport 
was full of these unha})py and outraged creatures 
for some weeks, till a provost-marshal who knew 
somethino', arrived from Washington and set them 
all at liberty. I saw the brave, injured old man 
whom I had helped arrest, clim])ing the Virginia 
bank of the Potomac, after his release, and with his 
clothes wet from having forded the stream, setting 
oti' on foot for his distant home. Often have I felt 
like a simpleton, l)ut never more so than then. 

While we lay at Willianasport, reports came ever}' 
few nights of rebel plots to cross the river from 
Virginia and surprise us. One evening it was said 
that such an attempt was quite certain to be made. 
It happened to be my night on guard. It fell to my 
lot to be phiced on post at midnight, at a point 
thought to be more exposed than any other aljout 
the camp, — a corner running up on to a blulf over- 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 31 

looking the river. Just over tlie 1)1 uir, half a dozen 

rods away, was a little copse of trees, convenient, it 

was thought, as a point whence an enemy might make 

a sudden rush upon us. AYhy we did not occupy 

that thicket ourselves I never knew. That entire 

side of our encampment lay upon the ridge of which 

this bluif was part, the crest of the ridge toward the 

river and toward Yiroinia, beino- two or three rods 

outside the sentinels' beat. Every sentry along this 

exposed front had ])cen given the strictest orders to 

fire upon any one advancing toward us that did not 

give the countersign or halt after a third challenge. 

Time wore 'on. Back and forth, forth and back, we 

lonely sentinels paced. ^Moonless and cloudy was 

the night, though the sky was visible over the crest 

of the knoll toward seceded Virginia. Back and 

forth, back and forth. It is one o'clock and no 

attack yet. But hush, hark; did ye not hear it? 

''Who comes there?" The chatlcnge is uttered by 

the sentinel next me but one alonir the tiireatened 

border. No response. *' Who comes there?" roared 

I 
out the challenger a second time. Again, no re- | 

spouse. The suspense is deathly. Doubtless Jack- \ 



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32 A private's reminiscences. 

son has come back, crossed the river in the still and 
dark of the night, and is at this moment just beyond 
that hillock, with his rebel horde, about to make 
overwhelming onset on our devoted camp. '' Who 
comes there?" the third time, and "bang" spoke the 
old Springfield musket, with voice enough to waken 
the dead. Thereat, O what a ti'ampling of feet, 
rushing and snorting in the copsewood in front of 
me — noise as of steeds and mustering squadrons, 
quickl}^ forming in the ranks of war ! My hair stood 
on end. But, dauntless as llegulus, I cocked my 
piece and faced the foe, "determined," as the novel- 
ists put it, "if fall I must, not to fall alone." But I 
w^as not called upon on that occasion to sell my life 
either dearly or cheaply. The scampering was in 
the other direction. A few mules had innocently 
gone to sleep in that brush, and had been scared b}- 
the discharo-e of the musket. But what had the fel- 
low shot at? Let us see. "Corporal of the guard 
No. 11." The cry was passed along, and presently 
appeared, not indeed the corporal but the officer of 
the day. Not wishing to imitate Xapoleon's fatal 
blunder at Borodino, of holding back his reserves 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 33 

in a crucial exigency, he had brought ])oth reliefs 
that were off duty. They moved at a double quick, 
with iixed bayonets and martial bearing, to help 
repel the dreaded invasion of our camp. The man 
who had fired told the officer he had heard steps and 
breathing- from the direction of the river, and had 
seen a head rise above the ridge against the sky, and 
then sink and rise and sink again, as if some wily 
and determined scout were makins: a cautious recon- 
noisance of the position. lie added, with the accu- 
racy of one testifying at a coroner's inquest, that 
when he fired he heard something drop, and that he 
believed they would find a dead rebel out there. 
The}^ searched. Not a dead rebel but a dead cow 
was found, which the commandino- oflicei- was jjood 
enough to pay thirty dollars for next morning. From 
mules and cows our unparalleled vigilance and valor 
had delivered us. There was not an armed rebel 
nearer than Winchester, forty miles away. 

It used to interest me to notice what special 
agony it cost many men to understand and execute 
orders which demanded memory of any precise form 
of speech. Charley Schmidt was a faithful soldier 



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34 A private's reminiscences. 

in my company, a believer in German beer and in 
German military ability, profoundly impressed "dot 
if Plenker [BlenkerJ or Zeekle [Sigel] vair only 
de gommander of de vorzis, mein Gotfc, de reppils 
voot shoost kit oop and kit out of de vay, you liet 
pettcr peleef." Charley and I happened to be on 
guard together the night when the field grand rounds 
of the brigade we had joined at Darnestown made *" 

their first regular and formal circuit. Fleretofore we 
had not been bi'igaded or divisioned, but had l)een 
a host in ourselves. The sergeant came along be- 
forehand and gave each of us the most explicit | 
insti'uctions how to 'challenge. He said: '^Now, | 
Charley, be sure to get it right. Don't make any | 
mistake. When you hear them coming about ten f 
rods oil*, you want to shout ^ Who comes there ?' As * j 
soon as the answer is heard, 'Field grand rounds,' | 
you must cry, 'Halt, grand rounds ; advance sergeant . I 
with the countersign.'" All right, Charley will try |' 
to remember. But Charley walks on pebbles. He I 
repeats it and repeats it with fear and trembling, | 
lest he should make an error and the war be a fail- j 
ure. Hark ! the august cavalcade approaches. We 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 35 

can hear the clanking of hoofs and the rattle of 
sabres. One after another challenges, the cortege 
halts, the password is given, on they press to the 
next sentinel. Now it is Charley's turn, but the 
Avords stick in his throat, which has not l^een lubri- 
cated with laiier beer for some hours. Suminonins; 
all his moral encriT^y he at len^^th screeches oat : 
"Who isht dair?" "Field grand rounds," they 
ansAver back. "Halt de krant rounts," commands 
Charley, — "atvance, zarchent, mit de — mit de — mit 
de — mit de — mit de go}2')oral-sir/n." The officer 
making the rounds did not reproach Charley for his 
bungling, but Charley reproached himself, and would 
not be comforted till the sutler's tent was opened at 
six in the morning and he could refresh himself once 
more with the beverage he loved. 

I often amused m3^self then and later when on 
guard, by listening to the diflerent national brogues 
that made themselves heard in the challenges as the 
grand rounds passed from sentinel to sentinel. There 
was the iiat, blunt, homely Yankee challenge, uttered 
by the farmer boy of ohl Connecticut : " Who kums 
thar?'\ There was also the Irish: ''lieu cooms 
thef/er?" and the German ; Who koomsh dair?'' 



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36 A private's reminiscences. 

I must conclude ; but before doing so, or rather, 
in doing so, I am anxious to give you a passing ac- 
quaintance with a few of my first 3'ear war comrades 
whom I have not yet mentioned. It is no reproach 
to Charlie Schmidt, Frisbee and Bill Pilkington to 
say that they did not alone compose that galaxy of 
fixed stars that made up the brilliant company in 
which it was my privilege to shine in the character 
of [pardon the egotism] a lamp. Therefore, ladies 
and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to my 
friend, Private James Jacol)y, the peer, if such ex- 
ists on earth, of that other friend of mine already 
familiar to you, Fris1)ee the cook, in the matter of 
good nature, serenity of temper, facility and felicity 
in taking things as they come. Jacob}' is from the 
Fatherland, but has l)een in America so man}^ years 
that 3'ou would hardly suspect his nationality from 
his speech. Like his illustrious fellow-countryman, 
Charley Schmidt, however, he loves beverage, but 
rarely takes too much and is never rendered savage \ 

or brutal by indulgence. lie never grumbles, but | 

eats, sleeps, drills, stands guard, and is paid oil*, I 

without a word of complaint ; has learned like the i 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 37 

apostle, in whatsoever state he is therewith to he 
content. IMany a time have I heard Jacohy, as he 
lay down to sleep on the ground at night after a good 
square meal, and drew his blanket over him, sa}^ : 
"O aint I glad I came to war !" And many a time, 
when some churlish Englishman in the company was 
grumbling at everything and cursing everybody from 
Abe Lincoln down to the coi'poral that stood by, 
would Jim Jacoby turn to him and say : " ]\Ian, you 
no business to listed, you'd grumble if you was 
o^oin' to be huns;." 

Let me present you next to Private Alexander 
Wilson. For short, we call hini Alek. His father 
and mother were L-ish and he is Irish too. This 
explains why Alek is a wit. He can be tender, also, 
as I know from havins: had charo^e of his courtinof 
correspondence for several months. The fact is, 
my company in general was mightier in military 
than in literary attainments ; and as in the kingdom 
of the blind the near-sighted man is king, so among 
us, he who could read and write was pronounced to 
possess a liberal education. "My parents were poor 
but respectable," and I had seen the inside of a 



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38 A private's reminiscences. 

scliool-liouso more days than most of the fellows 
Avith whom I stood shoulder to shoulder in defendhig 
the sacred cause of liberty. So I became private 
secretary to several, of whom Alek Wilson was one. 
It is not, however, so much on his tenderness as on 
his wit that I would dwell at present. Alek, one 
evening, had been, to state it miklly, under the in- 
fluence of stimulating liquids, and the colonel had 
seen tit to tie him up over night, by the wrists, with 
several other patriots in the same happy frame of 
mind. About eight in the morning, the colonel, a 
new-comer, by the way, a West Pointer, with whom 
it was somehow a pet notion that discipline must be 
maintained, went forth to labor with these miserable 
offenders. Seizing the first one l:>y the throat, he 
said: "You rascal, were you drunk last night?" 
"No, sor," was the reply. "You lie," said the 
colonel; "Officer of the guard, keep this man here 
till noon." Grasping the next man in the same man- 
ner, he demanded : "You scoundrel, were you drunk 
last night?" "I was, sor," the fellow said. . "Will 
you get drunk again?" "No, sor." "You lie, — officer 
of the guard, keep this man here till ten o'clock.' 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 39 

The rigid disciplimirian came thirdly to Alek Wilson. 
"Wilson, you scamp, were 3^011 drunk last night?" 
"Shurei was, sor." "Will 3'ou get drunk again?" 
"Begorra I would, sor, if I got a good chance." 
"Honest man, — officer of the guard, take Wilson 
down and send him to his quarters ; he tells the 
truth." 

Lastl3' , permit me to make 3^ou acquainted with 
their honors, Privates Cornelius Dac3^ and Jeremiah 
Horau, who dwell in my memor3^ — and they will 
dwell there perpetuall3^ — together. Horan can read 
and is a logician ; a philosopher, in fact. He has 
deep views about politics and has constituted himself 
a standing committee on the conduct of the war. He 
is a democrat. If a fine deed or idea is ascribed 
to an3' prominent republican, he blasts its force by 
the innuendo, "3'es, but what are his antecendents?" 
When not on dut3', Horan is on the other dut3' of 
instructing his messmates what a failure Lincoln is 
as a president, and how badl3^ every Union campaign 
has been managed. It is his hobb3^ that the Union 
troops are no match for the rebels anywa3\ Dacy, 
on the other hand, can not read, does not profess 



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40 A private's kemixiscexces. 



politics, is not up on the conduct of the war at \ 

large, but patriotic to tlie backbone, and accounting ] 

it damnal)]e heresy to hint that soldiers ever lived ; 

who were superior to himself and his glorious com- 1 
panions in the service of the United States. 

One day Dacy falls into argument with Horan on i 

1 
this point. Dacy remembers, a triile mixedl}^ what i 

he has heard about the tw^o battles, Bull Kun and \ 

I' 
Ball's Bluif [the only consideral)le engagements in \ . 

the East up to the time of which I speak] , and con- I 

eludes to attack his antagonist by the historical I 

method. Collectino; his memories of the retreat I 

across the Potomac from the last named battle, | 

ho says : "Fair did iver dthoso ribbils scliwim i 

six miles under warther wid their knapsacks upon ! 

their backs and their mooskets in their hands?" ] 

Dacy believes this to be an unanswerable argument, l 

a regular clincher. But Jeremiah Iloran isn't a dis- t 

putant to be pushed to the wall so readil3\ " You \ , 

blockhead, you," he rejoins, "no soldiers ever did | 

that. It's nonsense. The Union men never did ' I 

that. Where did Union soldiers ever do such a I 

thing us that?" Dacy's face reddened with patriotic 



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FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 41 

l>lood. "Where should it be?" he roars, the assur- 
ance of forensic victory h'ghting up every feature of 
his classic face, "where should it be? Shure where 
should it be but at the battle of Ball's and Bulls's 
Bluff." -V 



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ill 



PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF KVLNTS IN THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BEIXG PAI'EKS HEAD liEFOUE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL.SOCIETY. 



* 



<?' 



Third Series -No. 19. 



providence: 
published by the society, 

1887. 



THE BATTLE OF KEUY'S FORD, 



March 17, 1863. 



:rui \, M 



i 

JACOB B. COOKE, 
[Late F\Ti>\ Lieutenant, First IJliode Island Cavair)-.] 



rUOVJDKNCK: 
PUHI-ISHKl) 11 Y tin: S()( IKTV 

1HS7. 



:iH 






TEE ILVTTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 



The two happiest years of my life, the years 
which I look l)ack upon with tlie f^^reatest satisfac- 
tion, were the two years which I passed as a 
member of the First Ehode Ishmd Cavalry. It 
ought to be a matter of pride to every man to have 
been a member of it, whether as private or oificer. 
I had the pleasure of meeting General ITooker in 
Cincinnati in 1871, and in the course of conversa- 
tion he said to me that he considered the First 
Rhode Island Cavalry to have l)een one of the best, 
if not the best regiment of cavab-y in the Army of 
the Potomac. And I believe that his opinion was 
that of ever}' gener.al oilicer who had occasion to 
make use of its services. 

I arrived in Providence on the ninth da}' of 
December, 1861, for the purpose of enlisting in the 



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6 

* 1 

regiment. I brought with me to Colonel Lawton, | 

I 
then commanding, a letter of commendation from \ 

Colonel Lawrence, of the Fifth Massachusetts In- [' 

lantiy, with which regiment I had served through j 

the first three months' campaign, participnting in \ 

the first Bull Run battle and its sul)sequent retreat, \ 

the culmination of which was an attack of typhoid | 

fever which kept me in Washington several weeks | 

I 
after my regiment was mustered out. The First 

Massachusetts Cavalry, with which the First Ehode I 

Island afterwards had such intimate associations, \ 

was just completing its enlistment when I had \ 

recovered sufllcientl3' to re-enter the service, and j 

thinking m}^ chances lor promotion would be better, j 

I came to the First Rhode Island. r- 

i 

Immediatel}' upon my enlistment. Colonel Lawton | 

gave me a warrant as Quartermaster Sergeant, and 1 

I reported to Captain Gould for dut}^ A few da3's | 

afterwards I was promoted to be one of the regi- | 

mental Sergeant Majors. At this time the regiment I 

had a battalion organization, with three Sergeant | 

Majors, three Quartermaster Sergeants, and three 1 

Commissary Sergeants. When the battalion organ- 






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izalion was done awa}^ with, I was made the regi- 
mental Sergeant IMajor. 

Owing to his showy uniform, the Sergeant Major 
of a eavahy regiment is about tlie most conspicuous 
individual in it, and if I did not put on any airs it 
was not because I did not feel all the "pomp and 
circumstance" of ni}^ new position. I think, how- 
ever, I must have shown a little of the peacock 
nature, for I can well remember ni}^ dignity being 
hurt on several occasions after I liad purchased m}^ 
first "tliigh boots" b^^ some of the men (who had not 
that respect for my exalted rank ( ?) which the}' 
should have had) calling after me — wlien their 
escape behind the sta])lcs was well assured — "Sa^^, 
boots, where are you going with the bo}'?" What 
with the riding lessons, the l)reaking in of horses, 
the squad and company drills, the sabre exercise, 
with its everhistin<]^ ri;iht and left moulin(!'t, the time 
passed i)leasantly enougli, although we were all glad 
when we left Pawtucket for AVashington. 

What member of the regiment will ever forget 
the discomforts and hardships of '' Camp ^lud," at 
AVarrenton Junction, Virginia, which we took pes- 



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session of on the seventli day of April, 18()2? The 
first tln-ee days at that camp, with the pitiless and 
continuous falling of rain, hail and snow, provided 
with nothing in the way of camp equipage hut our 
ruhher ponchos, which, when several were fastened 
together, made a partial covering onlj' ; the en- 
deavor to lloor our huts with fence rails and under- 
brush in a vain cilbrt to keep our l)odies raised 
above the mud ; the horses dying at the picket lines 
for want of shelter and forage ; all formed a picture of 
miser}^ and an epoch in the history of the regiment 
which will always remain vividly impressed upon 
our memories. 

What member of the ren^iment will ever for^ret the 
lustre conferred upon it by the gallant action of the 
New Hampshire Battalion at Front Royal, which 
ended with the death of the dashing Ains worth? an 
action which will favorably compare with that of | 

any body of troo})s in any war, and which showed 
the stujf of which the regiment was made. 

On the ninth of August, 1802, at Cedar ^[ountain, 
the First Rhode Island achieved a reputation for 
coolness under tire, and steadiness of manceuvre in 



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9 

face of the enemy, which was an envia])le one, and 
which it verified afterwards on many a well-fought 
fiekl. 

Whatever may have ])cen the faults of Colonel 
Duffi6, there is no gainsaying the fict that he was 
probahly the best regimental cavaliy drill-master 
and tactician in the army, and also a brave and gal- 
lant soldier. An incident ^vill illustrate his coolness 
under fire. At the battle of Groveton, which the 
First Rhode Island opened, being relieved after 
having been for a considerable time under fire, b}^ 
the Fourteenth New York Infantry, I was sent b}^ 
the Colonel to notify the First Battalion, which was 
deplo3^ed in front as skirmishers, to withdraw and 
join the regiment, which, "when I rejoined the 
Colonel, was halted in a roadway, within range of 
the Confederate artillery. After reporting to the 
Colonel, I remained b}' his side at the head of the 
column. In a moment he turned to me and said, 
" Cookie, have you some tobacco?" I replied in 
the aflirmative, and handed him some from my 
saddle-bag. lie took a piece of paper from his 
pocket and commenced rolling a cigarette. The 






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10 THE liATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. | 

operation was, possi])ly, lialf iinif^hcd when an nn- \ 

exploded shell struck the ground inuncdiatcl}^ iu \ 

front ot* us. The Colonel regarded it with the ut- | 

most coolness, not sto])])ino: for an instant in the j 

rolling of his cigarette, while I, I must confess, lelt | 

that my absence from that particular spot at that I 

particular moment would he benelicial to my health ; I 

but, of course, I had to remain and face the music. I 

In a moment the shell exploded, spattering the dirt 
in our faces, but doing no damage. The Colonel 
coolly brushed his clothes and lit his cigarette. 

At the battle of Chantilly, I well remember 
seeing General Phif. Kearney dashing across the 
field, his horse ilecked with foam, the bridle reins in 
his teeth (his left arm had been left on iMexican 
soil), his sabre poised high in air, the very incarna- 
tion of the spirit of war. A more gallant soldier 
never set foot in stirru[). 

But 1 nuist proceed to tell you of the atfair at 
Kelly's Ford. I ought to know something of this 
battle, for the associated press dispatch(\s giving the 
particulars of it which were published in the North- 
ern papers on the nineteenth of March, 18G3, headed 






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11 

the list of killed with my name, in mistuke for that 
of Lieutenant Nicokii. A memorial service was 
held by a Sabbath-school at Charlestown, Mass., of 
which I had been a men)l)er ; the Boston and 
Charlestown papers published ' glowing obiluaiy 
notices, and my eldest brother went down to Vir- 
ginia after my corpse, which he found to l)e a 
remarkably lively one. 

This battle, for it may ])e dignilied by that title, 
was of very grave consequence ; not so much in the 
number of men engaged, nor in the num1)er of killed 
and wounded. Its ellects were moral rather than 
physical. Previous to it, the entire artillery and 
infantry service had heard of the pertinent ques- 
tion, of General Hooker, " AVho ever sa^v a dead 
cavalryman ? " and often as we passed them on the 
road sarcastically greeted us with it, much to our 
discomfiture. The result at Kelly's Ford changed 
all this. For the first time our cavalry had a chance 
to pit itself against that of the enemy. It was a 
given and accepted challenge of man against man, 
horse against horse, and sabre against sabre. 

The result was such as to elevate us in the eyes 



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12 THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 

of the army, to incroase our confidciioc in ourselves, 
and to increase our esjyrii da corps. 

On the fourteenth of ^larch, 1863, General 
W. W. Averill, eonunanding the Second Division 
of cavalry of tlie Army of the Potomac, asked and 
received permission from General Hooker to take 
his division across the Ea})[)ahannock and attack 
Fitzhugh Lee. On the iifteenth, Colonel Duliie 
reviewed his brigade, the First, and at the conclu- 
sion of his review informed its otlicers that it was to 
move the next day. 

On the morning of the sixteenth, the division, 
numbering about three thousand men and horses, 
with four days' rations and one day's forage, left its 
camp at Potomac Creek Station for the purpose of 
attacking the forces under Lee, reported to be in the 
vicinity of Cul})eper Court House. There were in 
the connnand two hundred picked men from the First 
Rhode Island, under command of Major Farrington. 
The division arrived at iNIorrisville at about six 
o'clock tliat evening, where it was joined at midnight 
by the Sixth New York Independent Horse liattery. 
On the night of the sixteenth, the camp tires of the 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY 8 FORD. 



13 



enemy were seen by our scouts between Ellis's and 
Kelly's Tords, and the drums, beating the retreat 
and tattoo, were heard from their camps near Rap- 
pahannock Station, Reljel cavalry were seen by 
our pickets on the roads leading west, during the 
evening. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis, of the First Massachu- 
setts, received orders during the evening to remain 
in Morrisville and take charge of all the pickets left 
north of the Rappahannock. He directed Colonel 
Doster, of the Fourth Pennsylvania, with two 
hundred and ninety men, to start from Mount Holly 
Church at four o'clock the 'next morning, and 
drive the enemy's pickets towards Rappahannock 
Station ; to go thence to Bealton, and liually to 
station himself at Morgansburg and communicate 
with a picket which would be established at Elk 
Run, and with his (Curtis's) force at Morrisville. 
These orders were executed and the enemy was 
driven out of that section. Colonel Curtis's force 
numbered about nine hundred. Small parties of 
our cavalry had been sent two to four hours in 









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14 THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FOKD. 

advance of the main body of the command to mask 
its approach. Captain Hart, of the Fourth New 
York, with one hundred picked men from that regi- 
ment, and the Fifth United States Ecgulars, ^vas 
ordered during the evening of the sixteenth to pro- 
ceed to Kelly's Ford, and at the first glimpse of 
dawn to dash across and capture the pickets on the 
south bank. He was to be supported by the rest 
of the regiment. These orders were given person- 
ally to Captain Hart by Major Chamberlain, chief of 
General Averill's statf, and a guide was furnished 
him. 

At four o'clock on the morning of the seventeenth, 
the command was awakened without the blowing of 
the reveille, and after a hasty breakfast took up its 
line of march for Kelly's Ford, about four miles 
distant. There were about twenty-one hundred 
men in column, composed of seven hundred and 
seventy-five from the First Brigade, under Colonel 
Duflie ; five hundred and sixty-five from the Second 
Brigade, under Colonel Mcintosh ; seven hundred 
and sixty from the Reserve Brigade, under Captain 
Reno, and six guns under Lieutenant Browne. 



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15 

When the head of the cohimn arrived near the ford, 
the cracking of carbines told us that the crossing by 
the advance under Captain Hart had not been ac- 
complished. General Averill was indignant that 
the surprise had not been ellected, although it was 
aftcrw^ards learned that General Lee was cognizant 
of all our movements, and had reinforced his pickets 
on the evening of the sixteenth w^ith ninety men, 
under Captain Moss, to whom he said that the Fed- 
eral cavalry, four thousand strong, w^ere at i\lorris- 
ville, and would undertake to carry the ford by day- 
light the next morning. General Lee further stated | 
that Captain Breckenridge was at the ford with sixty 

men, and had orders not to fire until the enemy's j 

forces w^ere in the water ; that w^e should not be . i 

allowed to cross the ford, and that he would be in 
supporting distance at sunlight. 

Major Chamberlain dashed down to Captain 
Hart's command, which was dismounted and firing 
at the enemy, wdio w^ere in rifle-pits on the other 
side of the river, from the protection of a mill-race. 
Captain Hart was ordered to mount his men, form 
in column of fours and follow the ]\Lajor across the 






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16 



river. On reaching the river, Major Chani])crlain 
discovered that the approach to the ford was 
o])structed hy an al)attis of felled trees lying across 
the road. At the same time he discovered that 
Captain Hart's command was retreating up the 
river. At this moment his liorse was shot in three 
places, and he received a ballet through his nose. 
He then returned to the Fourth New York, which 
had lialted a safe distance from the enemy, and sent 
an officer to General Averill with a request for pio- 
neers. Twent}^ men from the Sixteenth Pennsjd- 
vania, with axes, were sent to Major Chamberlain, | 

who ordered them down to the river to cut away | 

the abattis, under the protection of two squadrons j 

of dismounted men acting as sharpshooters, among \ 

them being Troop F, of the First Rhode Island. | 

Under cover of this lire, IMajor Chamberlain again | 

ordered the Fourth New York to follow him, and I 

dashed for the river. The trees had only been par- \ 

tially removed, the lire being so hot from the rille- ' 

pits that the pioneers hid under the banks. It w^as 
too hot also for the Fourth New York, and again 
that redoubtable (?) regiment retreated at break- 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD, 17 

neck speed up the river. IMajor Chamberlain's 
horse here received another wound, but was not 
disal)led. Giving his vahiables to a stall' officer, 
Major Chamberlain rode to the First Rhode Island 
and asked for volunteers to follow him across the 
river. All moved forward, when, selecting the pla- 
toon on the right, Troop G, commanded b}^ Lieu- 
tenant Simeon A. Brown, and ordering INIajor Far- 
rington with the rest of the regiment to follow in 
support, they went for the ford with a will. It was 
difficult work, for but one horse could leap the 
abattis at a time. Major Chamberlain's horse, fran- 
tic from wounds, sprung on a fallen tree, crushed 
through, and w^as shot dead as he touched the 
water. At that moment, ^Major Chamberlain re- 
ceived his second wound, the ball striking him in 
the left cheek, ranoinodown throu^'h the neck. The 
pioneers dragged him up the bank. Lieutenant 
Brown, followed b}^ his platoon of eighteen men, 
dashed into the water which was icy cold, four feet 
deep, and running with a ver}^ rapid current. The 
fire from the ritle-pits was so hot that but three men 
besides Lieutenant Brown succeeded in reachin": 



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18 THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FOED. 

the south bank. These men were Sergeant Em- 
mons D. Guild, and privates John A. Medbury and 
Patrick Parker. Parker's horse was killed in the 
river. The rest of the platoon were disftbled by , 
being shot themselves or having their horses shot. 

The crossing was a gallant act, gallantly done. 
Lieutenant Brown, who rode a white horse, was a 
very conspicuous mark. Upon reaching the south 
bank he rode up to the edge of the rifle-pit and 
looked down upon the " rebs " for a moment, who 
were so much astonished at his audacity that the}^ 
did not fire. Wheeling his horse to the right, man- 
aging to get behind a tree in line with the rille-pits, 
he waved his sabre in the air for a moment, calling 
out to the rest of the regiment, " Come on ! Come 
on!!" He then dismounted, turned to Sergeant 

Guild, and asked him for his carbine. It was 1 

I 
handed to him, and firing into the rifle-pit he killed f 

one man and wounded two others. IMany shots 

were fired at Brown, but he escaped being hit, I 

although he had three bullets through his clothing v 

and his horse was hit twice. Sergeant Guild was 

wounded in the side, but not seriously. 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FOKD. 19 

By this time the head of the remainder of the 
First Ehode IsLand's column was in the middle of 
the river, charging iicross under a lieavy fire, the 
"rebs" in some cases standing tip in the pits. I 
remember particularly one long, lank fellow who 
had a bead on me, and I thought for a moment my 
time had come, but I bobbed my head to him and 
bis bullet whistled harmlessly over it. The first to 
reach the south bank were iVIajor Farrington, Cap- 
tain Thayer, Lieutenants Fales, Chedell and myself. 
So far as I was concerned, all the credit there was 
in it was due to my horse. She had a mind of her 
own, and that mind was always to be in the front. 
But although we were the first, the rest of the bo3^s 
were right ])ehind us. As we reached the bank the 
"rebs" began to leave their rifie-pits and run 
towards a piece of woods about a quarter of a mile 
distant, in which their horses were tied. The south 
side of the bank was protected by an abattis con- 
structed of stakes driven into the ground, tied to- 
gether by twigs, and running from the end of one of 
the pits to the edge of the river. ]\Iajor Farrington 
ordered two men to dismount and tear this down. 



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20 THE BATTLE OF KELLY's FOIiD. 



when Lieutenant Tales jumped bis horse over it and 
rode to the top of the ]>ank, where he waited for 
Major Farrinoton, who, with some of the rest of ns, j 

were with him in a moment, and a second afterwards | 

dashing after the lleeing " rebs," whom we ordered 
to thro\y down their arms and surrender. Twenty- 
five of them were thus captured and sent to the 
rear. :;,a; [,/ - 

During the crossing of the regiment, Colonel 
Dufii^i's horse was hit by a bullet and his rider 
thrown into the river, considerably bruising one of 
his legs. Lieutenant ,Rhodes's horse was killed. 
Near the woods in which the "rebs" had secured 
their horses there was a fence which was speedil}^ 
torn do^vn, Avith which we made fires and warmed 
and dried ourselves. 

The balance of the First Brigade now crossed the 
river, followed b}' tAVO guns ; then the Second 
Brigade, and the remainder of the artillery, followed 
by the reserve. All the horses wcu'c watered by 
squadrons, and we were read^^ for a forward move- 
ment. At eleven Q-clock the entire force moved 
towards Culpeper Court House, fourteen miles dis- 






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VII 






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21 



tant, with Colonel Mcintosh's command, consisting 
of the Third, Fourth find Sixteenth Pennsylvania, 
on the right ; Reno's command, consisting of the 
First and Fifth liegulars, forming the centre and 
reserve, and Duffic's Brigade, composed of the First 
Rhode Island, the Fourth New Tork, and the Sixth 
Ohio, on the left, the First Rhode Island taking the 
advance, and the Sixth Ohio being deploj^ed as 
skirmishers. After advancinc: some thin o^ less than 
a mile, as the head of the column approached the 
edge of a piece of woods, the enemy was discovered 
advancing in line with skirmishers. The Fourth 
New York was ordered to the right to form front 
into line and advance to the edge of the woods and 
use carbines ; the Fourth Pennsylvania to the left 
with the same orders, and the section of artillery 
to the front to open lire. Colonel jNIcIntosh was 
ordered to form line of battle on the right of the 
woods, and Captain Reno sent three of his squad- 
rons to the right to act as a reserve, and one squad- 
ron up the road to support the centre. One section 
of artillery was sent to the right to oNIcIntosh. 

The enemy's artillery lire was now sweeping the 



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22 

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woods, causing marlvcd disorder among the men of j 

the Fourlli New York and Fourth Pennsylvania. j 

The Confederate left was advanced at a trot for the j 

purpose of capturing a house and outbuildings in j 

front of Mcintosh, who defeated their purpose by ] 

dismounted men of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania, I 

aided by a section of artiller}'. Our right was then i 

advanced into the field beyond the house, and the ] 

enemj^'s left successfully attacked by Mcintosh and 

Gregg. 

In the meantime Dulli{^ had formed the First 

Rhode Island, the Fourth Pennsylvania and Sixth 

Ohio in front of the left, with the Fourth New York 

as a support. At this time the First Rhode Island 

was in advance on the Culpeper road, alongside of 

which ran a stone wall, with a small portion of it 

thrown down. While the First Rhode Island w^ere 

thus halted in the roadwa}^ a column of Confederate 

cavalry advanced in squadron front from the woods 

on the opposite side of the field, and when part way 

across turned the head of their column to the left 

and retired, firing with their carbines and pistols as 

they galloped past. Major Farrington was wounded 






iv; 






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THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 23 

b}^ this fire, receiving a pistol shot in the neck, hav- 
ing a most narrow escape from a fatal wound. I 
was saved from a bad wound in the thigh by the ball 
striking my saljre's scabbard. 

A few minutes afterwards the Confederates ad- 
vanced through the same piece of woods and 
charged across in column of battalions, yelling like 
demons, and apparently contideut of victory. 
Duffie ordered his conimand, which was in column 
of fours, forward, and it moved into the field 
through the gap in the wall, Dullie immediately or- 
dering front into line. Before any troops but the 
First Ehode Island had time to get into line, Duffie 
ordered the charge. The First Ehode Island went 
at the " rebs " with a will, led by Captain Gould, 
who had taken connuand upon IMajor Farrington's 
retiring to have his wound dressed. The " rebs " 
retreated in disorder, hardly waiting to feel the 
sabre, pursued by the First Ehode Island with great 
spirit, taking many prisoners, among them being 
Major Breckcnridge, a cousin of the Vice-President 
of the Confederacy, who was captured by Lieuten- 
ant Fales. Some of our men went too far, and not 



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24 THE BATTLE OF KELLY's FOKD. 

noticing another column of Confederates advancing 

on tbeir Hank were captured. My horse carried me 

through the Confederate lines, and I escaped by 

making a detour to the left, jumping a tence into a 

by-road which ran into the Culpeper road, and turn-' 

ing to the left again jumped a fence back into the 

field in which the regiment was. In this charge 

Lieutenant Nathaniel Bowditch, of the First INIassa- 

chusetts, and Assistant Adjutant General on Colonel 

Duffic's staff, was mortally wounded after haviog 

cut down three rebels. The First Rhode Island lost 

eighteen men taken prisoners, among them being | 

Captain Thayer and Lieutenant Darling. i 

Of this charge by the First Rhode Island, the cor- j 

respondent of the New York Times wrote as fol- 1 

lows : " Your correspondent has seen in this war j 

several brilliant cavalry charges, but he never saw | 

anything so handsome and exciting as the dashing | 

charge made on the left of our line by Colonel | 

Duffie, commanding on that part of the Held." 

A few minutes later the Confederates attempted 
another charge, which was repulsed in such a hand- 
some manner by the First Rhode Island and a squad- 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY 'S FORD. 25 

ron of the Fifth Regulars, led by Colonel Duffic, 

that they retreated a mile before their officers could 

rally them. About the same time the Confederate 

cavalry on our right made a demonstration 'which 

was effectually checked b}^ Mcintosh wdth the Third 

and Sixteenth Pennsylvania. In the mean time our 

artillery was playing on the iieeing rebels and quick- I 

ening their speed. 

It now became necessary to reorganize the com- 
mand, so the sections of the battery were assembled, 
stragglers brought up iToni the rear, and the left of 
the line, formed by the First Rhode Island and the 
Sixth Ohio, was rested on the road, the ground on 
the left being impracticable on account of its marshy 
condition. The right of the advance was given to 
the Fifth Regulars. The enemy was driven through 
the woods about three-quarters of a mile, with the 
artillery supported by a column in the road, when 
open ground was made, and the enemy discovered 
drawn up in line of battle on both sides of the road, 
and about half a mile in front. The Confederates 
had been reinforced and were said by prisoners to 
3 






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26 THE BATTLE OF KELLY 'S FORD. 

be under the command of the rcdoubta])le J. E. B. 
Stuart himself, aided by Generals Fitzhugh Lee, 
Rosser and Pclham. 

Thci left of our line was immediately extended 
under a sharp lire of shot, shell and small arms, 
under cover of which the Confederate cavalry 
advanced on both flanks, the force attacking the left 
and advancing with great steadiness until it had 
reached within four hundred yards of our battery, 
which had not yet unlimbered. A section was 
quickly got into action, however, and with the aid 
of a charge made by the First Ehode Island and 
Sixth Ohio the attack was repulsed, the Confeder- 
ates retreating in much disorder. Their attack on 
the right had Ijeen similarly unsuccessful. 

The whole line w^as now advanced across the open 
ground through patches of woods until we reached 
a stubl)le field. Here we formed in line of battle, 
the left being composed of the First Rhode Island 
and Sixth Ohio. On the left of the First Rhode 
Island was a section of artillery. Immediately in 
our front, half a mile distant, on rising ground, were 
three pieces of artillery, two ten-pound Parrots and 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 27 

one six-pounder. No horses could be discovered 
about these guns, and from the manner in whicli 
they were served it was evident they were protected 
by earthworks. These guns ^verc served with great 
eflect, for each shot took a man or a horse. This 
sort of thing was very annoying, and the First 
Eliode Island and Sixth Ohio were moved to the 
rear and marched and countermarched for the pur- 
pose of keeping out of range of the rebel artillery. 
During one of the wheels made at this time, Lieu- 
tenant Nicolai was killed by my side by a solid sliot 
striking him in the neck. INIajor Farrington had 
returned to us some time before this, having had his 
wound dressed, and was now in command of the 
regiment. 

While we were in this position, manoeuvring to 
keep out of range of the encm3^'s guns. General 
Averill rode in front of our line, and pointing to the ' 

guns said, "Boys, you mustn't mind the fire from 
those guns ; it won't hurt you ; its eflect is only a 
moral one." At this moment a shdt struck within a 
few feet of his horse, the ''moral eifect" of which 
was to make the General immediately gallop to the 



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28 THE BATTLE OF KELLY's FORD. 

right of the line to look after afFairs there. Shortly 
after this a demonstration was made by the Confed- 
erate left which was repulsed by Colonel ]\IcIntosh. 

Matters remained very quiet now for some lime, 
with the exception of an occasional shot from the 
Confederate battery, when, at about half-past four 
o'clock, occurred one of the most gallant feats of the 
war, the credit of which belongs to the First Rhode 
Island and the Sixth Ohio, and of which they have 
a right to feel very proud. 

The rebel guns in front of us had remained quiet 
for a while when snddenl}' they began a rapid and 
annoying fire, under cover of which a column of 
cavalry was seen advancing in column of fours. 
Prisoners stated that the command was composed of 
the First and Fourth Virginia, seven hundred 
strong, including the famous Black Horse Cavalry, 
accompanied, if not led, by Stuart himself. The 
woods from which the Confederates emerged were 
less than a quarter of a mile distant, and a lino of 
fence ran across the fields from the road on our 
right. 

The rebels advanced at a trot, under fire of our 






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THE BATTLE OF KELLT's FORD. 29 

two guns, which were unable to do much execution 
on account of defective ammunition, until they came 
to the fence, where they halted for a moment to 
allow of its being torn down by dismounted men ; 
they then advanced, deploying into squadron's. In 
the meantime the First Rhode Island and Sixth Ohio 
had again formed on the right of the battery, in 
echelon^ for the purpose of supporting it, for its cap- 
ture was evidentl}^ the purpose of the Confederates. 
When our squadrons had been halted and dressed, 
for we were mananivred as if on parade, the order 
was given to "Advance carbines !" As the Confed- 
erates advanced, having now changed from the trot 
to the gallop, our men were anxious to open fire 
upon them, but although thei-e were one or two men 
who indulged in such cries as "Come on, come on, 
you sons of guns, we can't reach you there," but 
one man discharged his carl)ine, whereupon Colonel 
DuflS(^, who was sitting quietly on his horse on the 
right, commanded, "Steady, men; don't you stir ; 
Ave fix 'em ; we give 'em hell ! " A moment after- 
wards the orders were given, "Sling carbines ! Draw 
sabres ! ! " ^Empty scabbards fell back with rattle 



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30 THE BATTLE OF KELLY's FORD. \ 

\ 

and clang, and a line of cold steel flashed in the | 

waning sunlight. On came the " rehs," now I 

changed from the gallop to the charge, 3'elling and ] 

cheering, and firing an occasional shot from carbine 
or pistoL Captain Eogers, who was in command of 
the First Rhode Island, said to Major Farrington, 
"Shall I not go, Major?" "No!" replied the 
Major. Still we remained quiet. I turned in my 
saddle and looked at the men behind me. Never 
shall I forget their appearance. Every sabre was 
grasped as with a hand of iron ; every eye was look- 
ing straight to the front ; every knee was gripping 
its owner's saddle as with a vise. They sat indeed 
like a verital)lc stone wall ; they appeared as immu- 
table as fate. Turning again to the front I could 
see that the first squadron of the charging " rebs " 
was waverino- ; files of men were breakinfj: off from 
the right and left. I exclaimed to mj^self, with 
I am afraid a big, big D, ''We've got them." Again 
Captain Rogers said to the Major, " Shan't I go ? " 
Again INIajor Farrington replied, " Not yet ; wait a 
minute." Waiting a few seconds longer, till the 
"rebs" were within a hundred feet of us, the Major 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY's FORD. 



31 



said " Go ! " Then came the ringing order from 
Eoocers, "Charo-e ! " At them we went as if shot 
from a catapult. But thc}^ could not stand the cold 
steel. They broke and ran in wild disorder, leaving 
a number of dead, wounded and prisoners, among 
the former being the gallant General Pelham. Ser- 
geant Fitzgerald, of Troop G, First Rhode Island, 
was killed, shot through the heart. We pursued 
the fleeing "rebs" but a short distance, when we re- 
turned to our battery. 

During the day there had been man}^ personal 
encounters, single horsemen dashing at each other 
with full speed, and cutting and slashing with their 
sabres until one or the other was disabled. 

There had been many a dashing charge made and 
repulsed by battalions and regiments, but this last 
charge by the First Rhode Island and Sixth Ohio, at 
this time with probably less than two hundred men 
in line, against the First and Fourth Virginia with 
four times their number, was by all odds the most 
brilliant affair of the day, and deserves to be pre- 
served in history. The General commanding pro- 



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32 THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 

noiincecl it to be one of the most splendid ever 
made. 

Thus ended the battle of Kelly's Ford. It was 
now after five o'clock ; the enemy had retired behind 
their guns ; our men and horses were exhausted ; 
the artillery's ammunition had been expended ; the 
object of the expedition had been accomplished, and 
orders were o'iven for retiring-. The reserve was 
advanced to the front and deplo3^ed to mask the 
battery which Avas withdrawn, and the regiments 
retired in succession until the ford was reached and 
crossed, without the loss of a man in the operation. 

The force on our side activel}^ engaged was 
twent3'-one hundred cavalry and six guns. The 
rebel force was nearl}^ the same, although General 
Lee acknowledged having but between fourteen hun- 
dred and fifteen hundred men and six guns. 

The loss of the enemy in killed, wounded and 
prisoners was more than two hundred. The loss on 
our side was eighty, of which forty-two weie from 
the First Rhode Island. That tells the story. We 
had more than half the loss with less than one-tenth 
of the whole number en^aoed. Of the Confederate 



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THE BATTLE OF KELLY'S FORD. 33 

prisoners more than three-fourtbs were taken by 
us. 

It was a glorious day for the First RJiode Island 
Cavalry, and its memor}^ is not to be effaced until 
we, each and all, are called to respond to life's last 
taps. 



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APPENDIX. 



In "The Campaigns of Stuart's Cavalry," by 
Major II. B. McClcllan, twelve pages are devoted 
to this combat at Kelly's Ford, and on page 207 is 
the following : " General Lee says that onl}' eleven 
or twelve men were stationed in the rillc-pits at the 
ford at the time of the attack." This must be a 
mistake, and the letter of Captain William A. I\Ioss 
without doubt gives the facts substantially, although 
he depends upon memory alone. In a previous 
letter he speaks of having lired five times at the 
officer on the gray horse (Lieutenant Simeon A. 
Brown, First Bhode Island Cavalry), who led the 
column across the ford. 

BucKiXGiiAM CouKT HousE, Va., Jan. 22, 1880. 
My Deai? Captain: 

Your letter of the 20tli iiist. is just received, and I liasten to 
reply. As I stated to you some time since, I am dependent 
almost entirely upon memory as to occurrences which took 



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36 



THE BATTLE OF KELLY S FORD. 



place during the war, having lost all my papers about the time 
of the surrender at Appomattox Court House. My memory now 
is that I carried with me to Kelly's Ford, on the morning of the 
17th of March, 1803, about ninety men; that I left as a guard 
with the horses, in the edge of the woods, about one-lialf mile 
back from the ford, on the road to Brandy Station, live men, 
taking with me eighty-five to the riile-pits near the ford. Cap- 
tain Brcckenridge was already in position, giving me no oppor- 
tunity to find out his force, and I do not remember what 
number he oilicially reported, but am sure he must have had 
sixty men with him, making in all one hundred and forty-five 
men. Captain Brcckenridge stated before the Court of Inquiry 
that he did not fire, being short of ammunition, so all the exe- 
cution that was done was due to me. I have often wondered 
how it was tliat I could have missed the gray horse, as I fired 
at him more than at his rider, feeling sure that if I brought him 
down the rider would be helpless, besides the rider had chal- 
lenged my admiration by liis courageous bearing under the 
trying circumstances. ****** 

The charge on your part was a gallant one, for few regiments 
would have undertaken it under the heavy fire that was 
poured upon them that cold morning. 

Very truly your friend, 

■''''"■■ /^ Wm. a. Moss, 
Late Captain Co. K., 4th Va. Cavalry. 



To Captain Geokge N. Bliss, 
Providence, R. I. 






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THE BATTLE OF KELLY S FORD. 



37 



Major McClellan claims that the Confederate force 
on this occasion did not exceed ei2,ht hundred cav- 
ahy, supported by Breathed's battery of four guns, 
and that tlie last charge was made by the entire force 
on the Confederate side. On page 213 ho says : 
" Not a squadron was left to reinforce the charge when 
broken on the enemy's lines, and there was nothiDg 
behind which his regiments could rally, if unsuc- 
cessful, except the four guns of Breathed's battery.'' 
The charge was unsuccessful, and on page 215 we 
find : "Now, indeed, there was an opportunity for 
General Averill to 'rout or destroy' Fitzhugh Lee's 
brigade. He had a large force in reserve ; and 
two fresh regiments, one on either side of the road, 
could have swept that field beyond the hope of 
recoveiy. He could have ridden over Breathed's 
guns before the brigade could possibly have formed 
to protect them." Major ]\lcClcllan is not compli- 
mentary to General Averill. On page 216 he says : 
" We cannot excuse General Averill's conduct. He 
ought to have gone to Culpeper Court House." On 
page 217 we find : " General Lee reports a loss of 
4 



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38 



THE BATTLE OF KELLY S FORD. 



elever killed, eighty-eight wounded, and thirty-four 
taken prisoners. Of the latter, twenty-five were 
captured at the ford ; only nine were lost in the 
subsequent fighting. This fact is in itself an elo- 
quent commentary on the conduct of this brigade." 
General Lee reports a loss of seventy-one horses 
killed, eighty-seven wounded, and twelve captured. 
In his address on the battle of Chancellorsville he 
calls attention to the large proportion of horses 
killed, as showing " the closeness of the contending 
forces." 

General Averill reports an aggregate loss of 
eighty. Out of this number, forty-one casualties 
occurred in the First Ehode Island Cavahy. ''This 
regiment fairly carried off the honors of the day on 
the Federal side." 









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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVENTS IN THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BEING PAPERS READ BEFORE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Third Series -No. 20. 



pbovidence: \ 

published by the societv. ! 

1887. 1 



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Tlie Iin'estiiie»t of Fort Piilasld. 



ALONZO WILLIAMS. 

[Late Second Lieutenant, Third Rliode Island Heavy Artillery.] 



mo VI DEVICE : 

PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY. 

1887. 






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THE INVESTMENT OF FOET PULASKI. 



After the first campaign in 1861, which termi- 
nated so disastrously at Manassas, the army in Vir- 
ginia lay comparativly inactive until the spring of 
1862. Diirino; this lona* interval, however, several 
important expeditions were set on foot in the west 
and in the fiirther south. One of the latter was 
organized very early in the fall of 1861, and set sail 
from Hampton Eoads October twenty-ninth, consist- 
ing of fifty keels under Commodore Dupont, and fif- 
teen thousand troops under General T. W. Sherman. 
After a storni}^ passage, daring which the fleet was 
dissipated to the winds of heaven and four steamers 
were lost in a hurricane oil' Cape Hatteras, the scat- 
tered and battered armada began to re-collect and 
rendezvoused ofl:' Port Koyal, South Carolina. 
Forts "Walker and Beauregard were reduced, a 
footing gained on the sea islands and the enemy 
forced back to the main-land. 



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6 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT FULASKI. | 

The army and navy deployed at once in every ? 

direction by land and sea and commenced operations \ 

against the line of the enemy, which extended some I 

two hundred miles from Charleston, South Carolina, ; 

across Georgia to Jacksonville on the St. John's 
Eiver in Florida, and was commanded at this time 1 

by no less a personage than General Robert E. Lee. I 

This line was the principal theatre of action of the I 

Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, some portion | 

of which was actively engaged at every salient point I . 

of this stubbornly defended line during the next I 

four years, participating in every engagement in | 

siege and lield, and serving as infantry, as heavy I 

artillery, as light artiller}^ as horse artillery. Com- ] 

pany A, of which the narrator had the honor of 
being a member during the entire four years, 
was in turn metamorphosed into each of the species j 

of the genus soldier above named ; and served, | 

moreover, for several months in the nav}^ until one \ 

pleasant morning in the spring of '63 all its members 1 

w^ere raised to the mast-head by the explosion of a 
rebel shell in the magazine, and found, when they 
came down, that the steamer also had been razed to 
the water's edge. 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 7 

The first siege our regiment was called upon to 
undertake was that of Fort Pulaski, situated at the 
entrance to the Savannah Eiver, and to this I have 
the pleasure of inviting your attention this evening. 
Our esteemed fellow-citizen, General Horatio Rog- 
ers, who played such a distinguished and honorable 
part in the breaching batteries on Tybee Island, has 
in preparation an account of the bombardment and 
capture of the fort ; consequently I shall limit this 
paper definitely to the investment, every phase of 
which, from the inception to the crowning consum- 
mation, came under the observation of the narrator ; 
and of this I hope to give details which have not a& 
yet been put upon record. I cannot well suppress 
the apprehension, however, lest the details I shall 
give may sound to 3'ou like the calm and monotonous 
passages from an Odyssey in comparison with the 
soul-stirring episodes of an Iliad, with the recital of 
which these halls are accustomed to be filled, and 
I crave at the. outset your most patient indulgence. 

FORTIFED LINE OF THE ENEMY. 

Port Royal was the centre of activity. In our 
front the enemy had constructed a formidable stra- 



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THE INVEST31ENT OF FORT PULASKI. 



tegic line, its right resting on Fort McAllister on the 
Ogechee River, sixteen miles south of Savannah, 
passing through Fort Beaulicu on Yernon Eiver 
and numerous strong; batteries on the interveninir 
islands to Forts Thunderbolt, Bonad venture and 
Clausten's BhifF on St. Augustine Creek, to Forts 
Jackson, Lee, Tatnall and Lawton on the Savannah 
immediately in front of the city, and thence on to 
the left of the line, resting on Charleston harbor, 
eighty miles to the north. The advanced posts of 
this line were at Pulaski, Xew River Bridge, Blull- 
ton. Port Royal Ferry, and on the extreme left, 
Morris Island and Sumter. At all these points in 
turn attacks "were made upon this line, but without 
avail, as the enemy had large forces encamped along 
the Charleston and Savannah i-ailroad which could 
be readily concentrated upon any threatened point. 
From a careful study of the official reports — Union 
and Confederate — it is fair, however, to presume 
that a concentrated and vis^orous attack mis^ht have 
broken this line, cut the communications, taken Sa- 
vannah, and possibly Charleston in reverse, and thus 
very early in the war have opened an avenue to the 



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THE INVEST3IENT OF FORT PULASKI. V 

vitals of the Confederacy. This ivas the plan of 
General Sherman and just what General Lee feared 
he would attempt. The failure was due principally 
to the peremptory refusal of the ncvrly-clected chief 
of all the armies to send the necessary reinforce- 
ments. 

Compelled to give up his original plan, General 
Sherman decided to force the entrance to. the Sa- 
vannah by siege. His chief engineer, General Gil- 
more, made a reconnoissance and reported that the 
reduction of the fort was practica])le from Tybee 
Island. The armament for the breaching' l)atterie3, 
however, did not arrive from the north until after an 
interval of fifteen weeks ; yet expeditions were set 
on foot immediate!}' for the investment of the fort. 

The Savannah Eiver runs to the southeast and its 
debouchure at Tybee Ivoads is about twelve miles 
from the city. It is skirted by lo\v marsh islands, 
intersected by innumerable large and small tortuous 
bayous and creeks. On the Carolina side lies a vast 
marsh called Hog Island, below Mud Eiver, Jones 
Island, across AVright Eiver, Turtle Island, beyond 
New River in the background Daufuskie Island. 



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10 THE INVP:STMENT of fort PULASKI. \ 

\ 

In the stream lie Elba, Bird, Long and Cockspur \ 

Islands. The hatter is the site of Fort Puhiski. On . ' 

the Georgia side lie McQueens, Decent, Little Ty- ' 

bee, and projecting far out be^'ond the northern \ 

lip of the river's mouth Big Tybee, its seaward face 
a low, sandy promontory, against which the Atlantic \ 

incessantly breaks. 

The fort is of brick, its walls, seven and one-hali 
feet thick, rising twenty-five feet above high water. 
Its form is that of a rectilinear pentagon, whose ver- 
tex is to the open sea. The up-river face, or gorge, 
is covered by a demilune of earth in bold relief. I 

The main work is surrounded by a ditch forty-eight I 

feet wide, and the two faces of the demilune were 
protected by a ditch thirty-two feet wide. The 
only communication with the exterior, up to the 
time our James Eifles opened a better one, was 
throu<2:h the ^•or<:!^e over a drawbrid^-e into the dem- 
ilune and then through the left face of the demilune 
over the demilune ditch by another drawbridge. 
The fort is casemated on all sides and mounts one 
tier of guns en emhmsure and one en barbeltei a 
full armament being one hundred and forty, though 



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THE INVESTMEET OF FORT PULASKI. 11 

only forty-eight were in battery at the time of the 
bombardment ; twent}^ of which bore on Tybee, 
viz. : 

. Five 10-inch columbiads. 
Five 8-inch columbiads. 
Four 32-poundcrs. 
One 24-pounder BUakely. 
Two 12-inch seacoast mortars. 
Three 10-inch seacoast mortars. 

The position is a very strong one and commands 
both channels of the river. AYell Uiight its com- 
mandant, Colonel Olmstead, feel secure in such a 
stronghold against any batteries that could be 
planted in the bottomless marshes by which he was 
emcompassed. 

FIIIST llECONNOISSANCE. 

The expeditions for the investment were made on 
the north via Calibogue Sound, Cooper, New, 
Wright and ]Mud Eivers, planting batteries in the 
marshes on the north bank and in the middle of the 
Savannah. 












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12 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

A reconnoissance was made by Lieutenant Wil- 
son, of the United States Topographical Engineers, 
to spy out the land. We set out December twenty- 
fourth, forty men from Company A under Lieutenant 
Fry, and forty men from Company E under Captain 
Bailey, marched across Hilton Head to Saybrook, 
entered four large surf-boats and pulled out through 
Skull Creek into Calibogue Sound. - At night we 
ascended Cooper Eiver and turning into Kamshorn 
Creek, Avhich connects with New Eiver, we landed 
about nine o'clock on Pine Island. Here in a small 
cabin a council of war was held, and each squad was 
instructed in the perilous duties it might be called 
upon to perform. I may read the orders given to 
my sergeant, Charles H. AVilliams, in the execution 
of which — execution is here just the word — his 
squad was to furnish the background to the claret- 
colored scene he was about to paint and to give 
bold relief to the stalwart form of its sergeant in the 
foreground. A lonely picket was supposed to be 
stationed at a certain outpost hij which we must 
pass*. The poor picket was not to blame. But it 
is the inexorable law of life : the individual must 















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THE INV'EST.MKNT OF FOUT PULASIvf. 13 

ever be sacrificed to the adviuicc of the race. Our 
sergeant was to hmd and approach the object of our 
compassion. When arrested ))y : '' ]VIio r/oes there?' 
he was to answer: ''Friend icit/i the counfersirpi,', 
[What a fib ! Init, lying like swearing, is at times a 
military necessity,] and when invited to ''Advance, 
friend, and give the countersign !" he was to approach 
as close as permitted and then, leaning forward as 
if to whisper the password, then — shall I tell it? — 
I will read the very words of the order : " StriJce 
doion your man! " The squad was to be near enough 
to see that the picket intei'posed no objection to the 
execution — of the order. A nice way this to spend 
Christmas eve. Each of our sergeants was in turn 
summoned into that little shanty and assigned 
some similar duty, and we rememl)er how cheerful 
each looked as he came out. 

As we were now inside the enemy's lines, oars 
were muffed, and having been enjoined to speak 
only in whispers, we pushed on in the direction of 
Savannah. We passed through one noted thorough- 
fare called: " PuU-and-Be-Darnned-Creek:' That 
was the euphonious title which the " contrabands," 
2 



14 THE INVESTME^nT of FOET PULASKI. 

who are of rather an eniotional religious-tempera- 
ment, gave to the harmless Avaterway. If I remem- 
ber rightly, as we struggled against its swift tide 
that night, several of my non -religious comrades 
expressed to each other in pretty stout whispers 
their opinion that the sluice was none too well named, 
and even volunteered a few semi-religious epithets 
jis harmonious additions to the sentence-tious ap- 
pellation. Our negro boatmen and guides lost the 
way or became frightened, so w'e turned back and 
landed on Daiifuskie toward morning, and after 
throwing out pickets, snatched a few hours sleep in 
a deserted house. 

Lieutenant Wilson now set out with Captain 
Baile}' and a boat's crew to get the bearings in the 
day time, leaving the rest of us to cover their rear, 
and to meet them after dark on Pine Island. On 
their return at evening they were intercepted by 
pickets stationed near Bloody Point, on the very 
island where we had spent the day. The}^ rowed 
boldly for the shore, and after a sharp encounter 
drove them in. 

Nor had the party left on Daufuskic been inactive. 






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THE JNVKSTMENT OF lOKT PULASKI. 15 

They too had met the enemy and gloriuusly con- 
quered. If you will call upon my Fidiis Achates, 
comrade George ]\I. Turner, he will give you the 
details of the charge which he so gallantly led, and 
will tell you how the new sabre-bayonets of Corn- 
pan}^ A received their lirst stain of hostile l)lood. 
As the result of the skirmish — fur it hardly rose to 
the dignit}^ of an engagement — the* p:u-ty sat 
down to a Christmas dinner of roast beef, sweet 
potatoes and confiscated chicken. 

Soon after our re-union on Pine Island an alarm 
was given ])y the encn}y and rockets sent up all 
along the line for miles. Yoirninst remember we 
were wholly within their lines, as th.ey occupied the I 

ishmds Ijchind us. As the enemy were now on the ;. 

alert, it v/as decided that only one boat should make 
the final and farllicst venture that night. We started 

about ten r. m.. Lieutenant Wilson, Ca'ptain Bailey, , 

ten picked men and eiuht ncjro-boatmen. We 1 

worked our way stealthily up Wright Kiver, through 
Mud Eiver into the Savannah, Lieutenant '\Vilson 
making careful observations all the while, and each 
man grasping firmly his trusty rille, his linger upon 



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16 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. | 

the trigger, straining eager e3^es into the darkness, \ 

ready to anticipate an}' over-hasty picket. We as- j 

cended thus the Savannah to within three miles of 
the city, and would probably have landed in Fort 
Jackson had we not come unexpectedly upon one of 
Commodore Tatnall's fleet, the giant gunboat '' Sam- | 

son." We passed within twenty yards of it and 1 

could see the sentry pacing upon the deck. As it j 

was getting early and the evidences of the enemy | 

getting more and more numerous, indicated by the \ 

firing all about us, we concluded to turn back ; and 
after a sharp exchange of compliments with the 
pickets along the streams, we arrived off the camp 
on Daufuskie, about ten o'clock in the morning, 
laden with much important information and several 
suitings of very rich mud. 

To this camp, Lieutenant Fry and his men had 
returned about eleven o'clock the night before, sta- 
tioned outposts, hung the windows of the old house 
with rubber blankets, built a fire and turned in with 
toes to the hearth. About one o'clock the firimr, 
which had been heard at intervals, became more gen- 
eral and quite near. The sergeant of the guard, 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 17 

Williams, was summoned without intermission from 
point to point. One picket after another claimed 
that he had seen men in the woods, and some that 
they had been fired upon. The guard was doubled, 
and later trebled, and all the men were aroused. 
Positive orders had been left not to fire unless at- 
tacked, as it might cut off the return of our party. 
Thus the men sat dosing, with equipments on and 
rifles across their knees until daylight, when they 
distinctly heai'd the reveille and platoon firing \\\ 
the enemy's camp. Before our party returned they 
had become alarmed, had embarked in hot haste 
and were on the point of departure when we put m 
an appearance several hours behind the time agreed 
upon. 

As the objects of the reconnoissance had been 
attained, we turned our prows toward Hilton 
Head, where we arrived at evening of the third, 
day. Soundings had been made of the streams lead- 
ing to the Savannah by which gunboats might ap- 
proach to protect us while erecting batteries. It 
was developed, however, that New and Wright Kiv^ 
ers were connected by a narrow but deep artificial 






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18 THE INVESTMENT OF FOllT P'JLASKI. 

channel, called Wall's Cut, in the centre of wliicli a 
large schooner had been sunk and iixed in position 
by heavy })ilcs. Lieutenant \Vilson reported these 
facts at headquarters, but his report as to the p-rac- 
ticability of erecting batteries on those uuid 
marshes was that it was a])solutely impossible. 

This expedition, penetrating so far into the enemy's 
lines and remaininir there so lon<z, was reixarded as 
a I'eat of unusual daring. The Comte de Paris in 
his excellent history alludes to the discovery of tlic 
inland passage '' Z^y a hold explorer.'' Lieutenant 
Fry wrote of Company A : "I never saw cooler men. 
The greatest trouble wa's they Wanted to fight, ])ut 
that was not our object." VTe were welcomed ;is 
heroes on our return, as it was rumored that we had 
all been cut off and that Captain Bailey had been 
killed. The genial captuin still lives, however, 
though he has passed through many ii'' Pall-and-he- 
Damned- Creeh"" since Christmas eve, 1861. 

REMOVAL OF THE SCHOONER. 

A secret expedition was sent January eighth to 
remove the schooner from Wall's Cut, consisting of 






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THE INVEST3IENT OF FORT PULASKI. 19 

Company I, First New York Engineers, Captain 
^Yalker, twenty picked men from the same regi- 
ment, and sixteen men from Company G, Tliird 
Rhode Island Heavy Artilley, Sergeant Hudson, all 
commanded by ^lajor O. T. Beard, Forty-eighth 
New York. Surf-boats with tools weie towed by 
the steamer Mayflower as far as prudent, a landing 
made on Daufuskie, the boats with the tools rowed 
b}^ night around to the Dunn plantation near Bloody 
Point, where the men, who marclied across the 
island, arrived at midnight, and in silence the stores 
were landed. 

The next day an advanced line of pickets was 
sent out in boats, and preparations made b}' the 
engineers to commence work at nightfall. Steamers 
were constantly passing up and down the Savannah 
so near that men could be seen walking upon their 
decks, and the stars could be counted on the flag 
at Puhiski. That night the engineers succeeded in 
sawing od', with peculiar saws of their own inven- 
tion, live of the piles at the very bottom of the 
deep channel, and in the morning returned with the 
piles in tow. Thus by incessant labor, night and 



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20 tttp: investment of fort pulaskt. 

day, for nearly a week, they succeeded in removing 
all the })iles and swung the schooner around and 
secured it to the side of the Cut. 

One night as the details were approaching the 
Cut, a shot from that direction threw them into con- 
sternation. A moment later two shots were heard 
in their rear; then one from Fort Jackson, which 
was answered from the city. '' What does this 
mean? Are we discovered?" asked Major Beard, 
as he called Captain Walker along side. The men 
Avere unarmed and apparently surrounded, hut ^Major 
Beard was there, and after consultation it was de- 
cided to go ahead. Permission was kindly given to 
any who did not wish to accompany them to get out. 
Did you ever know a man brave enough to back out 
under such circumstances? How^ situations like 
thib taught us early in youth that fear is of very lit- 
tle real value in the practical alfairs of life. Often 
when perils seem to gather about us there is no real 
dano^er of losino- our life unless we first lose our 
heads. The firing was started by the neglect of 
Lieutenant Wilson to answxr promptly the chal- 
lenge of a picket, and there w\as no let up until the 






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THE INVESTMENT OF FOIIT PULASKI. 21 

circuit was completed, for when one picket has fired, 
every wavering reed becomes a man to every other 
picket'; in the palpitation of his own heart he hears 
the tramp of the ap})roaching foe ; and the goblins 
of his own past deeds iill the airAvith frightful spec- 
tres. Have 3^ou ever been a lonely picket, my 
friend ? 

Early one morning, it was Sunday, a small boat 
was discovered coming up ]Mud River from the 
Savannah. Our picket boat lay in hiding until it 
had passed, and thus cut it off and captured it. The 
party proved to be duck hunters from the city. 
AVhen informed that they were prisoners, they re- 
torted : " We have a pass from General Drayton." 
*' All right," replied the amiable and facetious lieu- 
tenant, "^}<:^5,s into my boat." When will men 
learn not to go down the river duck hunting on 
Sunday? The prisoners were much surprised to 
learn that the obstructions were nearly removed 
from the Cut, and told Major Beard what he already 
knew, that if it were known at Pulaski, they 
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22 THE INVEST31ENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

spells it slieol, with a downward pitch on the hist 
s^dlable. 

When we remember that this o1)str!iction was so 
far within the lines of the enemy that it was left un- 
guarded on the supposition that we would not have 
the temerit}' to appi'oach it, nor the ingenuity to re- 
move it unseen, especially as steamers were passing 
daily in the Savannah, we may gain sonic idea of 
the delicacy and difficulty of these operations. The 
boys of the old " Third" have since then removed 
mauy scltooners from their progress in life, but none 
that taxed more their ingenuity and powers of en- 
durance than the one which the}' sawed out in 
AYall's Cut, January, 18G2. • 



JOINT EXPEDITION OF AR:\IY AND NAVY. | 

A joint expedition of land and naval forces was | 

now at once prepared. AVe left Port Koyal Janu- 9^ 

ary twenty-sixth, the Forty-eighth New York, Sixth 
Connecticut, parts of the Eighth ^Mainc and First 
New York Engineers, and of our regiment. Com- 
pany E, Company G, and twenty-five picked 
men from Company A, all commanded by General 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT FULASKI. 23 

Viele ; and accoinpaniecl by gunboats under Com- 
mander John liodgers. The guns and ordnance 
stores were towed on Hats by the steamer May- 
flower : 

Four 30-poundcr Parrott rliles. 

Three 20-poundcr Parrott ritles. 

Two 8-ineh siege ho^yilzers. 

One 24-pounder llckl lK)wit2:er. ' - 

Each flat carried equipments and ten rounds of 
amnunition for each gun. A schooner followed, con- 
taining, besides intrenching tools and ammunition : 

Five 24-pounder licld howitzers. 
Three 24-pounder James rilles. 
One cS-inch siege mortar. 
One 10-inch sieire mortar. 

o 

General Gillmore accompanied the expedition, 
and to his zeal and indomitable perseverance is 
chiefly due the success of the work accomplished on 
the upper Savannah, as well as that on Tybee, 
whither he was summoned a month later. 









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24 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. j 

We rendezvoused on Diiufuskie, where we found \ 

a part of the Seventh Connecticut guarding "Wall's \ 

Cut. After a reconnoissance it was decided to ; 

erect a battery at Venus Point on Jones Island by 
towing the armament through Mud River and down 
the Savannah under protection of the gunboats ; j 

but it w\as deemed important to construct first a \ 

causeway over the marsh fi-om Mud Eiver, so that, <,. | 

in case of an attack in force, our infimtry supports | 

might be readily brought up from Daufuskie, four - i 

miles distant, the nearest point where reserves | 

could be located with any certainty of finding them | 

above the surface wheh wanted. - '\ 

The first week was spent in cutting poles for the 
causeway, and in filling sandbags. Ten thousand 
poles nine feet long and from five to six inches in 
diameter were cut and brought a mile or more on 
the shoulders of the men. Several more days were 
spent in transporting this material to a temporary 
wharf in Mud River, and in constructing a w^heel- 
barrow road of plank across to Venus Point, over | 

which several hundred sandbags and a quantity of 
material were carried by the men, mostly at night. 



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thp: investmrnt of foiit pulaski. 25 

Our men assisted in these various tasks, but our 
particular duty ^vas to guard the flats. Lieutenant 
Porter, the Chief Ordnance Officer, said in his 
report: "Their skill and energy alone saved the 
flats during the long time they were exposed to 
rough waters, winds and tides." Those alone can 
fully comprehend the significance of these words, 
who passed those winter nights upon them, exposed 
to the fury of the storms, drifting in the swift 
running creeks, or stranded on the marshes, at the 
risk of losing the guns, which w^ere more worth than 
their life. 

The narrator was a member of a reconnoiterinjr 
party sent out into and across the Savannah to find 
and cut the land and submarine telegraph wires 
between the city and fort. About a mile of the 
wire, running, as it were, under the very keels of 
their gunboats and between the legs of their pick- 
ets, was cut and carried oft', a piece of which I hold 
in my hand. 

Many interesting incidents occurred during our 
stay on Daufuskie, had we time to recite them. 
Here for the first time were we afibrded an oppor- 
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26 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

tunity to develop that predatory faculty innate in 
every genuine Yankee soldier. If there was any- 
thing savory on that fertile island which the " Third 
Rhode Island" did not first enjoy ^ it is not recorded 
that any other regiment discovered it. 

An incident, or rather accident, that befel one of 
Company E, Sergeant Keene, later Lieutenant in 
Company B, who has long since joined the boys on 
the other side of the river, w^e can never forget. 
Commander Rodgers had engaged five rebel gun- 
boats, which were passing down the Savannah wuth 
barges in tow^ for the fort, and every one was on 
tiptoe to get a good view of the engagement. Ser- 
geant Keene had been a sailor, and is led at once 
by his seafaring instinct to " shin " up one of the 
tall slender pines grown for that purpose. We 
watch him with env}' as he climbs up, up, ten feet ; 
up, up still, now^ twenty feet above our highest 
aspirations ; he reaches at last a limb, and good 
seaman as he is, nimbly swings himself over it, 
seats himself in such a way as to show that the 
Creator made no mistake when he bifurcated man, 
and then prepares to drink in the enchanting pano- 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 27 

rama. What envious creatures we are, forgetting, 
alas ! the great truth in life's economy, to wit : the 
higher up a man gets, the more difficult it becomes 
to maintain his equilibrium. Hark ! Something 
snaps and something drops. Envy is changed to 
pity, and a score of comrades hasten to raise a 
fallen brother. Is he dead? Bounteous Nature 
has provided a soft cushion, a sort of life-preserver 
for just such emergencies, if one but knows how to 
avail himself of it. Sergeant Keene had not been 
to sea in vain. Drawing the correct mathematical 
conclusion that the least surface of contact is fur- 
nished by two colliding spheres, 'he makes a few 
revolutions that would have done credit to an 
expert tumbler over elephants, then assumes the 
attitude he was looking for, and lands on that part 
of his rounded development where the least harm 
could result. That was the moment his picture 
should have been taken. The laugh that arose has 
hardly subsided to this day. Surely men are 
creatures of changing emotions. 

One day a violent storm swept over the island, 
accompanied by territic thunder, following in the 



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28 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. j 

1 

wake of wicked flashes of lightning. Sergeant \ 

Williams seeing a guard near his tent carrying his 1 

musket at shoulder witli fixed bayonet, shouted : 

"Stick that d-d- dangerous ba3^onet in the 

ground!" Good soldier as he was, he halted on J 

his beat, faced outward and ordered arms. The ; 

next instant he lay prostrate beside his musket • 

— dead/ He was laid in an "A" tent on the shore - J 

and Sero:eant Williams was ordered to furnish a I 

i 

man to spend the night with the body. I heard . j 

I 

him say that he wanted "a man who had sand in I 

him^^ — that was one of his classical expressions, - t 

— and so he detailed one bearing the same name as \ 
himself, and there were but two of that distin- \ 
guished Khode Island name in the detachment. 

That body-gunrd has never forgotten the long j 

cheerless hours of that night, and often has he I 

prayed to all the Stygian gods that they will yet I 

grant him an opportunity to reciprocate the kindness i 
shown him at that time by his sandy namesake. 
Taken all and all our life on Daufuskie was not 
an unpleasant one, a fact due in no small degree to 
the beauty of the island itself. The coast from 









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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 29 

Charleston to Savannah is fringed with low, rich 
islands, which on the map has the appearance of 
elegant lace on a lady's mantle. Amongst these 
islands and the marshes which separate them from 
the main land, run innumerahle rivers and deep, 
narrow creeks and hayous, into which the tides 
bring the warmth and life of the Gulf Stream. 
The islands have a rich, vegetable substratum, and 
are blanketed by the fine sands of the ocean's 
margin. These are the famous Sea Islands, and 
here grows in wild luxuriance the Sea Island 
cotton, with its long silky fibre. Here in stately 
majesty tower to the bending blue sky the unctuous 
southern pine, the proud, pompion-shaped palmetto, 
the delicately slender cypress, the fragrant mag- 
nolia ; and here the majestic live-oak rears its 
graceful triumpiial arches and hangs them with the 
gray, clinging drapery of the soft southern moss. 
Here abound shrubs and vines and flowers even in 
mid-winter, the lovely jasmine, the gelsinium sem- 
pervirens, clothing its climbing tendrils with yellow 
flowers and spreading fragrance and beauty on all 
around ; as also the passion-flower, an inspiration 






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30 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. I 

and assurance of our own success, preaching by j 

cruciform petals and medicinal virtues the lesson of J 

triumph through suffering. 

Of all these charming islands none is more 
beautiful, fertile and luxuriant than the quiet isle of 
Daufuskie, Looking; out through dense forests over : 

the placid waters of Calibogue Sound ; and toward I 

the rising sun to the white caps of old ocean lashing . j 

itself to fury upon the sand-bars that lie upon the '\ 

far horizon ; and southward over the broad Savan- j 

nah and its myriad isles, she seems to sit a queen I 

of veritable eastern luxury and indolence among the | 

many low marshes and flat rice fields that lie- ' J 

between her and the main land. Large mansions | 

surrounded by ample buildings and rich gardens, i 

added the life and grace of civilization to the native i 

and semi-tropical wildness of this charming Sea j 

Island. No one, surely, of the "Third Rhode \ 

Island " who passed the days from January 26 to \ 

February 11, 1862, on this island, can easily recall 
a sunnier spot in that, at once, dark and bright era 
of our life. Even now as I dwell upon it, recollec- 
tion seems to grow clearer, memory sees farther 



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I 

THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 31 1 

back into the past, a holy calm encompasses those \ 

stormy years, and fain would I linger still within | 

the precincts of the encircling charm and leave to 1 

others the recitals of the dano-ers and sufferino^s now ' 

so soon to follow. ., < 

;■ I 

THE PLANTING OF BATTERY VULCAN. | 

:' ■ • -:- ■ I 
All was now ripe for planting the battery on 

Jones Island, and the contrast between our life of 
comparative comfort on Daufuskie and the arduous 
duties awaiting us call vividly to mind the state- 
ment of Cicsar in his commentaries on the Gallic I 
War: that the oods are accustomed to o-rant to men ' 
fiivorable fortunes for a while that they may suffer ' | 
the more grievously from a violent change of cir- i 
catnstances. It was decided that the gunboats I 
should attempt the Mud River passage on the night j 
of February ninth on the tide, and the ]\Iay flower 
should follow immediately behind with the flats in 
tow. At nightfall all is in readiness for the perilous 
passage. The signal is given and the Mayflower 
turns on steam. The elements, however, were 
averse, if not in league with the enemy. The 



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32 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. I 

-I 

bottom of the heavens fell out ; the winds howled j 

and spirits of terror and dismay were abroad ; the ; 

muddy rivers boiled as a vast maelstrom; the mad 
tides rushed in from every direction, covering the 
islands like a second deluge ; an impenetrable dark- 
ness spread itself over the scene ; yet we struggled j 

i 
against Fate with a determination that would not .- 

yield till broken. What strength of character and ] 

iron wills that war developed ! But our efforts ^ » 

were in vain and toward mornins: we cast anchor, 1 

I 
and at daybreak found ourselves near the spot \ 

whence we started. a- : I 

The gunboats now^ seemed reluctant to move. | 

As Mud River was only about eight feet deep at 

flood and one and one-half at low tide, there was 

some doubt whether they could get back, should 1 

Tatnall prove more tlian a match in the Savannah. \ 

As the fort prevented them from going down the i 

river, they might be themselves bottled and exposed \ 

to all the torpedoes and fire rafts from above. It ^ 

would be useless for us to attempt the Savannah \ 

River passage without the gunboats. But General 

Gillmore was not a man to be frustrated in his 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 33 I 

i 

desio-ns. He decided to haul the o^uns over the i 

Do j 

marsh to Yenus Point, nearly a mile, a task any \ 

rational man would pronounce impossible. Had I 

not General Lee already reported to Richmond that 
•the erection of a battery on these islands was 

impossible? But General Gillmore left his diction- j 

ary at home and had evidently forgotten the defini- 
tion of that word. 

Let me describe to you Jones Island and you may 
judge of the feasibility of the undertaking. Like 
the adjacent islands it is covered with reeds and tall 
grass, and flooded at high tide. It is soft unctuous 
mud, free from sand and of the' elasticity of gela- 
tine. A pole can be forced into it ten or twelve 
feet with ease, and the resistance diminishes with 
increase of penetration. Even in the niost elevated 
parts the crust is bat four or five inches in depth, 
and the sub-stratum is a semi-fluid mud, which is 
agitated like jelly by the movement of bodies over 
it. A person is partially sustained by the roots of 
the grass and sinks only a few inches, but Avhen this 
top gives way, he goes down suddenly several feet 
and unless rescued at once is in imminent peril. 



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34 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

Over this treacherous surface the rash general 
proposed to transport guns of several tons weight ; 
impossible ! impossible ! so said wise men, so said 
the rebels, so said the Fates. General Gillmore 
said : we'll try, and his features were set. That 

night four flats were towed by row-boats up against | 

the tide through Wall's Cut into ]Mud River, ] 

between eight and ten p. m., and when all the guns j 

and ammunition had been landed, an immense task j 

alone, the men were set to hauling the pieces over , j 

the marsh. Most of them had been on continuous | 

duty up to their Avaist in water for twenty-four j 
hours and from sheer exhaustion were unfit for the 

arduous work, hence the pieces were' covered j 

with reeds and grass to prevent discovery and the | 

men withdrew. That same night the engineers | 

commenced the magazine and platforms on Venus j 

Point. The floor of the magazine rested on sand- I 

bags which raised it twenty inches, and the plat- | 

forms, nine by seventeen feet, w^ere raised six | 

inches with sand brought up from Daufuskie and | 
carried over in bags on the shoulders of the men. 

They also concealed their work and withdrew just ! 

before daybreak. I 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PUEASKI. 35 

The next night the work was resumed, and the 
narrator can never fors^et that he was there. The 
task was of the most extraordinary Labor, and ex- 
hausting to a degree beyond one's power to de- 
scribe. Let me attempt to tell you how it was done. 
The pieces, limbered up, were moved on runways 
of planks laid end to end, each fifteen feet long, one 
foot wide and three inches thick. Each squad had 
one pair of extra planks which were placed in front 
and then the pieces drawn forward with strong drag 
ropes, and suppressed groans, until the rear planks 
were cleared and then those were carried to the 
front and the operation repeated, a slow and tire- 
some process. The planks soon became smeared 
with the slimy mud and difficult to handle, so that 
ropes had to be attached by which they were 
dragged through the mire. We sank to our knees 
and often to our waists, and encased our feet in 
sand-bags tied below the knee, and these served as 
a sort of pontoon, but after one had been under a 
few times, these became too heavy to drag and were 
discarded. Many vexatious delays and much ex- 
hausting labor was occasioned by the slipping of 



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36 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

the gun-carriages from the runways. They would 

sink at once to the axle, even deeper, and only by i 

the most expeditious use of skids and great exer- I 
tions were tlicy kept from sinking to the bottom, 
while powerful levers had to be devised and much 

time and united effort expended to raise them to the , 

surfiice again. When the wheels struck the poles J 

on which the planks were laid, the other end of the j 

pole w^ould fly up, striking the men in body or face { 

and land them in the mud, if not seriously cripple ]• 

them. Add now^ to these Herculean efforts the dis- I 

piriting discomforts attendant upon a drenching "*' I 

winter storm, remembering what these same men J 

had been called upon to undergo during the three j 

preceding nights and intervening days spent in ■-, 

bringing up material from Daufuskie, and you may | 

possibly form a faint conception of what those boys, | 

then fi'esh from the schools and shops and farms and | 

comfortable homes of New England, had to suffer | 

on Jones Island that bitter night in February. |' 

Need I tell you that toward morning they began I 

to give out, and neither encouragements nor threats j 
nor maltreatment availed. Many fell in the mud 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI, 37 

and refused to rise, in most cases could not. As 
for myself, my very final effort at last was spent. 
The Fates, however, were not wholly unpropitious. 
At that instant there was for some reason a momen- 
tary halt. The wheel of our gun-carriage had 
scarcely ceased turning, when I saw my stalwart 
sergeant and namesake embracing its tire lovingly 
with folded arms, holding on for dear life, but fast 
asleep standing. I needed no farther incentive. I 
let go the w^ill, my hamstrings relaxed and I 
dropped. Never did softer or more welcome couch 
receive the weary form of a king. I slept. I 
dreamed. Even now I recall the bliss experienced 
as the mud seemed to open and let me down, down, 

down to well, an}^ place were heaven to the 

sheol we were in. Those were precious moments, 
but, alas, they were fleeting, as all the purest joys 
of life. Whether it was a prod from a bayonet or a 
kick from my sergeant's stern foot, I was rudely 
aroused and summoned to the endless and hopeless 
task. I looked to my namesake for compassion, 
but he now towered up against the midnight sky 
forbidding as a Jove, looking as austere and iuno- 
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38 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. j 

cent as if he had never himself lapsed from duty. 

You who know my esteemed comrade only as a • , 

Paris, little realize what he is when a Mars. AYe " ■ 

must not linger to depict farther the details of this 

weary night. At two a. m. the first piece w^as at • 

Yenus Point and the last before nine o'clock, and : ) 

by noon six guns were in battery ready for busi- J 

ness : '. j 

Three 30-pounder Parrott rifles. 1 

Two 20-pounder Parrott rifles. | 

One 8-inch siege howitzer. I 

The southerners had shown their knowledge of I 

classical antiquity by naming this small elevation I 
Yenus Point, whether because it rose from the 

waves of the sea, or whether because so slightly j 

c]ad, or because its fair surface was so treacherous, | 

does not appear. The Yankees, not to be outdone I 

in display of academic lore, recalling the special I 

favors shown to the grim forger of Jove's thunder- | 

bolls hy that fair goddess to whom all the gods, as '; 

well as degenerate man, are ever ready to pay I 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 39 

homage, solemnly christened this, the first offspring 
of their labors, " Battery Vulcan." 

The day was spent in preparing for action. As 
night approached we began to look about for hard, 
not soft, places in which to sleep, being excluded 
from the platforms, as they could barely sustain the 
weif^ht of the ofuns. Foresi^'ht had led the narrator 
to place his effects upon the cross-bar of a limber 
standino: behind the f^nn in the mud, and thus ho 
claimed by pre-emption this bar and the adjoining 
pole as his headquarters, and on that slender 
tongue he balanced himself and slept in happ}^ equi- 
librium of body and spirit dreafning of the battle to 
come on the morrow. 

In the morning the steamer Ida came down on 
her trip to Pulaski, all unconscious of the hidden 
danger. She was thrown into consternation by the 
storm of shot and shell khat unexpectedly burst 
upon her, but escaped unharmed, as all our guns, 
except one, recoiled off the platforms. Having now 
disclosed our position, Tatnall might appear at any 
moment, and our guns were sinking in the mud. 
Ignorant of our plight the attack was delayed. 



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40 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

Meantime strenuous exertions were made to remedy i 

our mistakes, and this preliminary experience, dis- ] 

closing as it did our defects, saved Battery Yulcan 

from being knocked off Yenus Point, and this 

narrative from being abruptly curtailed. 

When Tatnall appeared the next day with four | 

f 
gunboats, we were ready for him, and after a warm I 

engagement of an hour he was glad to have his dis- I 

abled flagship towed out of action. This engage- j 

ment was fought by us against large odds in num))er . | 

of guns, without any cover by parapet, and that, | 

too, on unfinished ])latforms. General Sherman i 

..... ■ '' ■ ■■ ■ I 

sent his felicitation as toUows : I 

• ' '■■ I 

"The commanding general requests that you will | 

thank the officers and men of the Third Rhode 
Island Artillery for the admirable conduct displayed 1 

during the recent engagement with the rebel gun- | 

boats, having every confidence they will always dis- | 

tinguish themselves ; and expresses his conviction 
that when opportunity oflers every other company 
of the regiment will emulate the conduct of Com- 
panies El and G and the detachment of Company 
A." 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FOllT PULASKI. 41 

THE PLANTING OF BATTERY HAMILTON. 

It was now decided to plant a battery in the 
middle of the river on the upper end of Bird Island, 
directly opposite Venus Point, in order to close 
the south channel and St. Augustine Creek. Com- 
pany E and the detachment of Com})any A were 
selected to man the guns, and the flats with the 
armament and material Avere brought from Daufus- 
kie into Mud River February twentieth. About 
midnight we reached the mouth of the river, and on 
the change of the tide at one a. m. pulled out into 
the Savannah, under the very noses of the rebel 
gunboats. It was a perilous passage. The solemn 
injunction that no one should speak was super- 
fluous. We held our breath, our hearts stopped 
beating, our hair stood on end : 

*' Obstupui, steterimtque comae et vox faucibus liaesit;" 

nothing moved but the even swing of our muflled 
oars, and uncertainty which beat its thousand-fold 
dark pinions about our anxious heads. Major Beard 
and Captain Hamilton led in a small boat, and by a 



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42 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

preconcerted system of signals indicated the proper 
direction to Captain Bailey, Sergeant Williams and 
the other fiats. As the tide was runnino' stron<x and 
the night exceedingly darlv, wo found it difficult to 
keep our course, but succeeded about two a. m. in 
reaching the point designated, and commenced at 
once to construct the platforms and magazine and 
to land the armament. Such silence was preserved 
that the enemy was not aware of the movement till 
daylight, when it was too late to attack us with 
impunity. At daybreak an eight-inch howitzer was 
in position, and by three p. m. we had in battery six 
pieces ; 

Three 24-pounder James rifles. 
One 30-pounder Parrott rifle. 
One 20-pounder Parrott rifle. 
One 8-inch howitzer. 

Thus all communication by the Savannah, between 
the city and the fort, was effectually closed on the 
twenty-first day of February, and on the same 
day the first vessel with ordnance from the North for 
the siege batteries on Tybee Island arrived off the 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 43 

harbor. This side was blockaded, and hence the 
fort invested on this side first. Early in December 
the Forty-sixth New York, under Colonel Rosa, had 
been secretly landed, as a precautionary measure, on 
Tybee, and there tlie}^ Imd lain all this while, as it 
were sub rosa. Two companies of this regiment 
were sent the next day to occupy Decent Island, in 
order to close Lazeretto Creek, and thus was com- 
pleted on February twenty-second the absolute 
investment of Fort Pulaski. The erection of the 
breaching ])atteries on Tybee, the bombardment and 
capture of the fort, and the important, nay leading 
role played therein by the officers and men of the 
Third Rhode Island I leave to anotlier and abler 
pen. ■ 

LIFE ON BIRD ISLAND. 

Our life, or rather vegetation, of nearly two 
months on Bird Island with its attendant privations 
and sutferings and frequent contests with the fleet, 
was very trying. These vicissitudes must be left 
untold. I will add one or two characteristic inci- 
dents and from these you may judge of them all. 






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44 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

i 

The first night 1 well remember. Exhausted by \ 

the unceasing labors night and day for two weeks, \ 

especiall}' the exertions of the previous night, and \ 

the unremitting toil of the day, we began to long 1 

for darkness and rest. But where could we lie \ 

down? The platforms were sinking and we were ] 

forbidden to stand on them. We were ever ready j 

to die standing, but to sleep standing required more j 

• ., ' I 

nerve than any of us posessed, though our sergeant | 

■ ■. I 

had been seen to perform that feat. To add to our | 

discomforts a rain came on with the darkness. I 

Each man was left to care for himself. The narra- | 

tor went out into the marsh and broke a bundle of 1 

reeds and grass and made a bed on the spot, and | 

weaving together the tops of some of the tallest j 

reeds and spreading them apart he formed a shelter - j 

in the shape of an A tent, under which he crawled \ 

and was soon dreaming like a child in its mother's 

arms. Good and bad are largely relative terms. 

The next few hours were among the happiest in life. 

The world, however, moves and our relations are 

ever shifting, ^loon and tide wait upon no man's 

pleasure. It was about two a. m. I felt a moisture 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FOKT PULASKI. 45 

beneath me, but when I remembered where I was, I 
did not think it strange, and rolled over to continue 
my dreams of home. Soon, however, I awoke to 
find the pockets and all the vacant and sinuous 
labja-inths of my regulation trousers filled with 
water. Deeming it prudent to make a reconnois- 
sance, I found all the island about me flooded. I 
started instinctively in the direction of the battery, 
forgetting that a ditch had been begun there until I 
landed at the bottom of it up to my neck in water. 
The early hours of February twenty-second were 
passed, not as had been our custom in former years, 
in preparing to honor the Father of his Country, 
bat in frantic endeavors to avoid the alligators 
which were out for their earl}^ morning exercise. If 
what 1 say in this connection may seem incredible, 
please call up my comrades to verify it. The layer 
of mud on these islands was the regular habitation 
of this amphibious tribe, and it will show the nature 
of the mud it* I tell you that when the tide went 
out they sank easil}^ right down out of sight, and 
the firin<i^ of the o-uns often brou^jht them to the 
surface. We discovered the nose of one of these 



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46 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

carnivorous reptiles near the cook's kettle, and 
digging about liim we lassoed him and drew him 
out with hawsers. He measured about ten feet, 
and the hoys have not forgotten what tender steaks 
he made, as this kind of meat was at a premium for 
a few da3^s. The high winds and strong tides due 
to the storm, as also the renewed vigilance of the 
enemy prevented us getting supplies via Mud River 
across the Savannah, and we were compelled to 
subsist on native products and faith. The boys 
drew the line, however, at alligators, and refused 
to prolong life by eating the snakes that abounded. 
I alwa^^s thought this distinction was not so much a 
matter of taste as of prejudice inherited from our 
distinguished ancestress. Captain Bailey succeeded 
later in conquering a prehistoric crocodile which 
measured fourteen feet and proved a trifle ancient 
for our digestive apparatus even under such stimu- 
lating circumstances. 

Reduced to extremities we sent a boat to Mud 
River to report our distress and to bring immedi- 
ate relief. The next night we stood waiting, cold 
and hungry, at the w^ater's edge, peering with 
dilated pupils into the impenetrable darkness and 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 47 

listening with ears acute to catch the dip of the 

muffled oars, for our comrades were true and we 

knew they would attempt the passage that night, 

even were all Tatnall's fleet in the river. Slowly 

the hours passed and midnight came and went. 

Only hollow tones of the distant breakers give 

ansAver to our longing. Most of the men have 

fallen in the mud, asleep. A few of us stand 

shivering still, and on the flood of the tide, ere we 

are aware of its approach, a boat is rowed right up 

on to the island into our midst. The men are 

aroused, and half crazy they rush for the boat. The 

provisions brought are soon distrilmted. What is 

it? Could you have looked upon it and have 

witnessed the scene that followed, it would give 

you a more vivid conception of what the Union 

soldiers Avas called upon to sufler in that long, 

terrible war than any painting of words can portray. 

When shipped from the North, it was supposed to 

be a barrel of yellow meal, presumabl}' for horses. 

That was all. It had evidently been thrown out 

I into the surf at Port Eoyal and towed ashore 

' months before, and had since been floating around 



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48 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

the mud rivers on flats in the rain, wlio could tell 

how long. It was green with mould and cobweby, 

but now fully alive to its important mission. We 

broke it up with our shovels, regardless of the ^ 

sacrifice of life it cost, and each man received a 

piece — apiece? no, that is too nice a word, a i 

chunk, — a hunk, that fits the case better. What j 

I 

could we do with it, you ask? Trust a hungry | 

soldier for that. A stampede was made for the old _■ \ 

barrel into which we had thrown pork rinds, skim- 
mings and superfluous grease. This we mixed with 
our shorts i and adding a sufiicient quantity of the 

brackish river water, we reduced the mass to a j 

paste, and the small hours of the night were spent I 

around the fire, each with his little tin pan in which I 

he turned from time to time his Johnny cake until i 

it was baked to a crisp brown That that was a \ 

^enza^e " Camp Fire," of which those who have seen \ 

only the simulated ones of these degenerate days,' i 
consisting of scalloped oysters, ice cream and horti- . Y 

cultural rhetoric, can form but an indistinct con- \ 

ception. J 

Since then it has been my privilege to sit at rich \ 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI . 49 

banquets in many of tlie great capitals of the 
world, but I am unable to recall one which I en- 
joyed with such a keen relish as I did that brown 
Johnny cake seated with my comrades in Bird 
Island mud. Surely happiness is largely a relative 
state. The water we drank was from the river, ot 
which we had our choice, either at high tide when it 
was fresh from the Atlantic and about as palatable 
as a dose of Epsom salts, or at low tide when 
charged Avith all the mud of the swollen creeks 
above, a choice as difficult as the one imposed upon 
the renowned Mr. Ilobson. We had no chanire of 
clothing, or none to speak of, and as it was well 
nigh impossible to v.ash what we had on in the 
heavily impregnated water, our condilion may be 
more easily imagined than admired. It was equally 
impossible to make an}^ satisfactory impression 
upon the successive deposits [^which had become 
encrusted upon our bodies. Indeed, it became 
rather a matter of pride to carry these evidences of 
our heroic service as one does honorable scars, and he 
who succeeded in removing them was looked upon 






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50 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

much as a dude is in our day. Thus ever does our 
environment determine largely our fashions. 

One of our gravest discomforts was the various 
kinds of animal life that insisted on sharing the 
island with us. There was one animal who had 
come with us, landed with us, stayed with us, 
sticking closer than a brother; a wingless, hemip- ] 

terous animal known to scientists as the jjedicidus t 

vestimenti^ hQiiev known to soldiers as ^^ the [yray • | 

hack" You can form an idea of the sufferings from J 

cold and hunger, from sickness and wounds, but ' 

you cannot gain any adequate estimate of a soldier's i 

sufferings if you leave 'out of account this sturdy ^ 

camp follower. Where it is i)ossil)le' to boil one's ; 

clothes, the encroaehmeuts of this pest may be % 

warded off, but on a campai^'u, such as this, it is i 

simply out of the question, and no one, from the | 

commanding general down, is exempt. It is only a I 

question of degrees of multi})licity. Herod as w^ell , \ 

as Phillip II. of Spain, died from the attacks of \ 

these ridiculous pedkuJi. Most of my comrades ! 

were in a condition to envy the happv lot of those I 

two royal sufferers. Among all the tortures we 









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THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 51 

were called upon to endure in this siege, none were 
more aggravating than the insistent incursions of this 
pest. As we had no kettle in which to boil our 
clothes except the cook's, who stubbornly refused 
to loan them for the purpose, and as washing them 
in cold water seemed only to invigorate the robuso 
constitution of their tenacious tenants, the only re- 
course left us was, as it was euphemistically called 
in the army, to "yo shivniisJtin^/,'' and this pleasant 
<]uty became one of the chief recreations during our 
stay on Bird Island. 

CONCLUSION. 

Such, ladies and gentlemen, were some of the ex- 
periences through which those passed to whom was 
entrusted the investment of Fort Pulaski. In con- 
clusion I desire to call your attention to one im- 
portant lesson to be drawn from a siege such as I 
have endeavored to describe. Many })ersons fancy 
that the only important duty of a soldier consists in 
lighting on the open battle-iield. Such persons 
estimate the service of a regiment by the number 
of great battles in which it was engaged and the 



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52 THE INVESTMENT OF FOllT PULASKI. 



number of men it lost therein ; and they estimate ^ 

the service of any given individual by the number I 

of times he has been killed, or at least mortally | 

wounded. How often have you, my comrade, been ! 

asked by such persons: Were you at Gettysburg? \ 

No I At Fredericksburg? No! At Vicksburg? j 

No! At Charleston? No! Ever killed? No ! | 

Wounded? No! An ordinary soldier has no show | 

in the liands of these unread torturers. They never j 

heard of other battles, and conclude at once j 

that he could not have seen much service. There 1 

are two palpable fallacies involved in such estimates \ 

to which I wish to draw your attention. In the | 

first place, many a man was present at more than 
one of the great battles mentioned, and yet saw no 
more severe lighting than another man possibly pres- 
ent at no one of them. We remember that many u 
re;T;iment marched up the peninsula and marched 
down again without tiring a shot, while some of us 
remember that one detachment of our Battery was 
at Gainesville, where the fighting was so desperate 
and decisive, and final I3' hand to hand, that the gun, 
limber, caisson and horses were all lost, and twelve 



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TflE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 53 j 

out of fifteen men either cut down or landed in \ 

Andersonville. Few regiments at Fredericksburg 
saw such fi2:htini]: as the First Cavalry at Kellev's 
Ford, a mere reconnoissance. The fact is, many 
are here present who have been in battles where 
from fifty to one hundred thousand were engaged, 
who, however, were called upon to perform more 
arduous, more desperate work, on other fields 
seldom mentioned b}' name, where but a few^ hun- 
dred were cnuaoed. 

These statements every soldier here readily admits, 
but the one I am now about to make may seem at 
first untenable, to wit: the mo'st danger oils service 
7vas not rendered on the field of battle at all. Let us 
glance at the statistics of the war : 

Killed ill battle 44,2.>S 

Died of wounds 49,20.') ^^ 

Total 93,44:i 

Died of disease in tiie service 212,3v^4 

Discharged for disabilitj' 285,245 

Total 497,0_'<) 

Discharged because of wounds, subtracted 65,455 

Remainder 4o2,l74 

What do these figured mean? They mean : 



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54 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. 

1. That more than ivnce as many died of disease 
in the service as were killed in action and died of 
wounds combined. 

2. That nearly five times as many died ot 
disease as were killed in action. 

3. Hhaifive times as many were discharged for 
disability, excluding those discharged because of 
wounds, as were killed in action. 

4. That more than five times as many died of 
disease and were discharged for disability combined, 
as were killed in action and died of wounds com- 
bined. 

In some departments these ratios are increased to 
an appalling degree. One regiment from this State 
serving in the department of the Gulf, lost tldvty- 
si?: times as many by disease as were killed in 
battle, and another one Inindred and nine times as 
man3\ Large as was the percentage of mortality 
in our late war, yet it was larger in former wars 
when sanitary provisions were less understood. In 
the Crimean War seven-eighths (87.5 per cent.) of 
the mortality among the British troops was from 
disease. AVhen you think of the historic names of 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FOKT PULASKI. 55 

the Alma and Inkerman, of Balaclava and Sebas- 
topol and many lesser fields, remember that only 
one-eighth of the mortality in that entire war 
resulted from death on the field of action and from 
wounds combined. To show the rate of mortality 
in relation to the number in the field, we may take 
the report of LordEaglan (see Kinglakc, vol. iv, p. 
158) for the seven months from October 1, 1854, to 
April 30, 1855. The mean strength of his army 
was 28,939. Of this number there died in hospital 
11,652, of whom 10,053 died of disease. The re- 
port made on tlie last dav- of February, covering 
the preceding four months (see K., p. 150) shows 
8,898 deaths in hospital, 13,G08 lying in hospital 
on date of report, making a deduction of 22,506 
from an armj^ whose mean strength for that month 
was only 30,919 ; and a large proportion of those still 
able to handle a fire-lock were sufierins: from srvave 
bodily ailment (p. 152). The rate of mortality in 
January, wiiich was the greatest, was so large that 
to supply the loss from disease alone, which was 
nineiy'Seven per cent, of the whole, the entire army 
would have to be replaced by a new one every ten 



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5G THE INVESTMENT OF FOKT PULASKI. 

months. It was onl^^ by constant reinforcements 
that either the English or French army was saved 
from extinction. 

Such facts and figures as these are significant to 
veteran soldiers, as indicative of the kind of service 
that was required of the Union volunteer, as indica- 
tive of the kind of service most dangerous to life in 
war, showing that it is not necessarily participation 
in great Ijattles, not necessaril}' direct exposure of 
life and limb amid shot and shell, though every 
genuine volunteer hailed such opportunities as a 
relief, not this alone that constitutes real service 
and heroic self-sacrifice', but rather the long and 
faithful performance of the manifold duties the 
soldier is called upon daily and nightl}' to render, [ 

in camp, on picket, in siege, in the trenches, on i 

the march ; illy-clad, illy-fed, and exposed to all J 

the rigor and vicissitudes of the elements. If you | 

will show me the comrade who fiiithfull}^, loyally, \ 

with glad obedience performed all these, who for ' " .- 

the sake of his countr}^ endured all this, I will ] 

i 
show you the comrade who was not only the man i 

most to be relied upon when the critical hour of | 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FOKT PULASKI. 57 

battle came, but also the man who rendered to his 
country the best service, the most arduous sei'vice, 
3^ea, the most dangerous service, and who to-day, 
though he carrv no hostile bullet in his bodv, vet 
deserves the deepest gratitude and highest rewards 
of this Ptepublic. 

So when I recall the eventful history of the glori- 
ous old "Third," and remember the bloody fields 
on which it proved its valor and heroism, James 
Island, Pocotaligo, Deveaux Xeck, Port Eoyal 
Ferry, Coosaw Iliver, Broad River, Bluffton, Honey 
Hill, Gainesville, Olustee, Cedar Creek, Morris 
Island, Wagner, Pulaski, Drury's Bluff, Fort Burn- 
ham, Laurel Hill, Petersburg, Appomattox and more 
than a score of others ; when I think of the long 
months spent in the siege of Sumter and Charles- 
ton, where it was under lire as many days and 
nights as any regiment in the whole war, I would 
not, I cannot detract from the honor gained in the 
heat and danger of actual battle, but I cannot for- 
get that she performed other services no less honor- 
able, no less dangerous. When I recall the thirty 
hours durinfij which she withstood the witherinir fire 



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58 THE INVESTMENT OF FORT PULASKI. \ 

from Pulaski, I recall no less vividly the three long 
months, the more than two thousand hours, spent 
in equally arduous, and even more dangerous duties 
while drawing the fatal cordon about that citadel. 

So when I read over the old roster of my regi- 
ment and check off the long list of those Avho died ; 
of disease in the service, I think of the swamps and ] 
savannas of Georgia. AVhen I read the two hun- j 

DIIED AND F]FTY-THUEE UaUlCS of thoSC who WCre | 

discharged because they were no longer fit for ser- i 

vice, I think on the swamps and malaria of j 

Georgia. When I phice the fatal star opposite 1 

the names of so many who since then have \ 

surrendered, m}- mind reverts to the islands of 
Carolina and Georgia. When, as again and again, \ 

I go these bitter winter days to my door and find \ 

there a bent and broken form, which five and twenty j 

years ago stood by my side as proud and erect as | 

any that walks God's earth, and my sometime com- I 

rade tells me how manfully he has struggled all • 
these intervening years to keep himself and the 
wife of his 3'outh and their children from the poor- 
house ; tells me how at length, nearly blind and 



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THE INVESTMENT OF FOUT FTJLASKI. 5(> 

deaf and crushed in spirit, he has been again dis- 
charged by his employer as no longer lit for service, 
and adds that he dare not tell it to an3' except an 
old conn-ade, nor apply to the countiy to which he 
freely gave his all to save, lest the very people he 
so gladly served, if not perchance the highest offi- 
cials of the land, may call him a pauper, a fraud, 
the scum of the earth, then, then again I think on 
the islands and marshes of the Savannah, and turn 
back once again to reflect upon the great problem of 
life, and to imbibe from the trials and sufferings or 
those heroic years, courage and strength to endure 
the still more bitter pangs that ^ome with these 
ungenerous days. 






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